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' ' ' ' ' 


The Record of a Useful Life 



Henry P. Davison 






Copyright, 1933, by Thomas W. Lamont 
Printed in the U.S. A. 



JL 29 

Dedicated to 




Three significant periods in Davison's career 
His early work in banking organization 
and important banking consolidations 
Outbreak of the Great War Damson and 
the preservation of New York City's credit 
His effective plan for bringing into order 
the chaotic Allied purchasing arrangements 
in America The Red Cross under his 
direction helping to win the War. 


Harry s childhood days Death of his mother 
He makes a new home for himself Fam- 
ily and religious life in Merrick Pomeroy's 
house The young school teacher Board- 
ing-school times in New England Depar- 
ture from Troy for the world of affairs. 


Three years at New England boarding 
school A stimulating atmosphere for both 
study and pranks A leader among the 
students Life-long friendships formed at 


Finding himself in a real job at last Whist 
parties with P. T. Barnum The meeting 
with Kate Trubee and their engagement 
Fishing and shooting in the Maine woods. 


At the Astor Place Bank in 1891 Rapid 
promotion at the Liberty National Final 
transference to vice-presidency of the First 


National Bank Some characteristics of 
this institution George F. Baker's career 
and his influence on Damson's work. 


Genesis o/Davison's idea Building a bank 
for bankers Personality ofE. C. Converse 
and other associates The institution's early 
years Benjamin Strong joins the official 
staff His aims and achievements Per- 
manent record of Lavison's work for the 


A move to develop uptown business Link- 
ing of the Astor National Bank with the 
Bankers Trust Company group Davison's 
unique methods in choosing officials for the 
new institution. 


Warning signs of trouble Outbreak of 
runs by depositors Failure of Knicker- 
bocker Trust Company Efforts to save in- 
stitutions under fire The vivid story as 
told by Benjamin Strong Tennessee Coal 
and Iron Company crisis The final all- 
night session at the Morgan Library Sav- 
ing of the situation. 


Adviser to the United States Monetary 
Commission Important hearings in Eu- 
rope under Senator Aldrich's leadership 
Jekyl Island Conference The drafting of 
the Aldrich reform bill Paul Warburg's 
narrative Final organization of the Fed- 
eral Reserve System Some of its develop- 
mentsGlaring defects in the country's 
present banking system Halting progress 
towards banking stability. 



The need for larger banking units Ad- 
vantages of consolidations The negotia- 
tions and flans through which the Guaranty 
Trust Company of New York became the 
largest trust institution in the country 
"Open covenants openly arrived at.' 3 


Banking troubles of ign The Carnegie 
Trust Company failure The Twelfth and 
Nineteenth Ward Banks in serious diffi- 
culties The appeal to the Morgan firm 
The late Mr. Morgan's generous and de- 
termined attitude Davison's work in sav- 
ing the institutions under fire. 


The unwarranted attacks upon the late Mr. 
Morgan Unfounded theory of the control 
and abuse of credit The financier s ap- 
pearance before the Pujo Congressional 
Committee His convincing testimony 
Davison's work in preparing for the hear- 
ing His own clarifying statements. 


Davis on* s active share in the formation of 
the American Group of bankers for the as- 
sistance of China History of the old and 
new Consortiums Efforts of the Toft ad- 
ministration negatived by its successor 
Wilson regime reverts to former policy 
American attitudes toward China. 


Outbreak of the War Effect on the world 
money markets Sterling goes to apremium 
of $7 -Plight of New York City Its ma- 
turing obligations of almost $80)000,000 in 
London and Paris Morgan firm takes the 
lead in working to save the City's credit 


How the plans were carried through Comp- 
troller Prendergasfs statement. 


Rapidly increasing purchases by the British 
and French Governments in America Pre- 
liminary discussions by Davison in London 
as to loan possibilities Arrival of the 
Anglo-French Loan Mission under Lord 
Reading Difficult and protracted negotia- 
tions Final success of the issue A land- 
mark among financial operations. 


Coordination of credit plans to meet pay- 
ments promptly Huge purchases of Amer- 
ican products Successive loan issues by 
Allied Governments Federal Reserve 
Board's attitude Heavy shipments of gold 
and securities to New York. 


Davis on y s idea of bringing order out of 
chaos Stimulus given to American indus- 
try and agriculture All parts of country 
reap benefit from the Allies' buying The 
work of Edward R. Stettinius An effort in 


Happy days in the Jersey countryside thirty 
years ago Simple tastes of the groups which 
Davison drew around him The centre and 
leader of them all Open house on the Long 
Island shore Original training place of 
the Yale Aviation Unit Visits to his native 
Troy Civic gifts to his home town Po- 
litical affiliations. 


Early trips to the Maine woods Stalking 
mountain sheep on the heights of the Cana- 


Man Rockies Realization of a boyhood 
dream in the African Shooting Trip- 
Damson's vivid diary of the days happen- 
ingsAdventures with elephant, "rhino" 
' and buffalo Lord Kitchener of Khartum 
Sunny days at Magnolia Plantation. 

A call that could not be denied Damson' s 
broad ideas for the organization A factor 
in helping to win the War History of the 
organization and of its activities in both 
America and Europe Tribute to its ac- 
complishments under the Davison leadership 
His conception of the International Red 
Cross President Wilson's warm approval. 



The Davison Hunting Diary. 
Honorary Degrees. 
Medals and Decorations. 



Facing page 

1862 14 



EROY 3 IN 1887 2O 




1904 40 


NEW YORK IN 1907 86 


SONS IN 1898 232 



IN 1917 280 


Facing page 


SON 316 



IT IS difficult to write an adequate biography of a man 
who spoke little, and wrote nothing, about himself. 
Yet that is the task confronting anyone undertaking to 
tell the life story of Henry Pomeroy Davison. 

It is the story of a man who, in the first twenty years 
of this century, had a vital relation to many of the 
important developments in the financial life of Amer- 
ica. Yet any light to be thrown upon his work must 
come solely from a study and an estimate of what he 
did. That must speak for itself. If to any extent he 
was introspective, analyzing his own purposes, judging 
his own motives, visualizing within himself his own 
ambitions, certainly he did not talk about it. He 
posed neither before others nor himself. His corre- 
spondence contains no letters of that self -revealing kind 
that give illumination to many biographies, and help to 
the biographer. He relied, not on the written, but on 
the spoken word. His great power lay in personal con- 
tact. He could win individuals and groups through the 
power of his presence and speech. He never attempted 
it through letters. 

In fact (with the notable exception of the diary cov- 
ering his African shooting trip) I have been able to find 
scarcely a single personal or characteristic communica- 
tion to include in this volume. However, no less an 
authority than Plato tells us in his Phaedrus that the 
spoken word is of far more value than the written one, 
though presumably he was then hardly thinking in 
terms of biographical material ! 


All of those who were close friends of Harry Davison 
used frequently to be asked to name the qualities that 
were most conspicuous in his makeup. The answer 
was not easy, but all his intimates would agree that 
he had a fine, clear mind and great imagination the 
vision to realize that the dreams of today are the reali- 
ties of tomorrow. With an unusual courage which gave 
that imagination of his free scope, he united extraor- 
dinary magnetism. In any company his personality, 
marked by a charming sense of humor, was always 
outstanding. He had an abiding interest in the wel- 
fare of others, particularly of young men. Never did 
he allow an opportunity to escape in the advancement 
of one he deemed worthy, no matter how humble his 
station might be. And to such characteristics he added 
the more personal qualities of loyalty, of understanding 
and of sympathy that made him all his life a loved 
figure in whatever circle he moved. 

That extraordinary devotion which his friends had 
for Davison has probably reflected itself in the form 
which this volume has taken. It has hardly been a 
biography in the usual sense of that term, but rather 
a running narrative of the outstanding events in Davi- 
son's life, a citation of his virtues and achievements, 
with his faults, whatever they may have been, left out. 
Perhaps I should have attempted a more balanced esti- 
mate of his character; but for an intimate friend, who 
remembers him only with gratitude and joy, it is well- 
nigh impossible to cudgel one's memory, in order to 
record some weakness or lapse in a character so remark- 
able and lovable as Davison's. 

Those who knew Davison best indeed, those who 
knew him at all realized, because they were self- 
evident, the warmth of his heart, the unquenchable 
joyousness, even gayety of his outlook upon the world, 


the generosity of his impulses, the cleanness of his life, 
the high character of all his standards. But any of 
them searches his memory in vain for discussion by 
him, either spoken or written, about those things. He 
was not given aloud at any rate to philosophizing; 
he never preached ; and he did not wear his heart upon 
his sleeve. If I over-emphasize this point, it is to make 
clear why this volume is not to be annotated with a 
mass of documents and letters. 

Davison lived in the concrete. He was like the typ- 
ical great man of affairs, deeply immersed in them, and 
developing from the atmosphere about him some 
seventh sense that made his swift decisions ultimately 
prove logical, even though at the time of their making 
they may not have seemed so. He did things. He 
inspired and led in the doing of other things. He acted 
with all his might and concentrated upon each problem 
in turn. To the solution of each, one after another, 
he brought swiftness of decision and certainty of touch. 
For he possessed a clear mind and conscience grounded 
in standards unquestioned, and for him unquestionable, 
because assimilated into the very essence of character, 
admitting of no argument and calling for no explana- 
tion of motive. 

There is extant, for example, no significant inter- 
change of correspondence in connection with his join- 
ing the firm of J. P. Morgan & Co. The elder Morgan, 
upon whose invitation, of course, he came to the firm, 
was given even less than Davison to loquacity about 
abstract personal or business conduct. The interview 
was a brief one. When Harry, rather taken aback by 
the peremptory invitation and by the overwhelming 
tasks that lay ahead, expressed a doubt as to his quali- 
fications, Mr. Morgan brushed all that aside and then 
added shortly: 


"There's only one thing to remember: I want my 
business done up there" holding his hand high above 
him, "and not down here" pointing to the ground. 

Several years after that, in his testimony 'before the 
so-called "Pujo Committee" of the House of Repre- 
sentatives in 1912, Mr. Morgan declared his depend- 
ence upon upright character, his desire to deal with 
men in whom he could "believe." Thus he felt no need 
of elaborate speech with this young man whom he was 
installing within the inner circle of his confidence. He 
knew Davison. He had seen him in action in the panic 
of 1907, easily standing out as the leader of the younger 
generation in banking and finance. And it was char- 
acteristic in Davison to take the standards for granted. 
Before that same Congressional Committee, indeed, he 
was asked if a certain procedure of the Morgan firm 
was "defensible." Instantly, almost belligerently, he 
answered : 

"I do not know why the House did it, but if the 
House did it, it was most defensible!" 

In Davison's mind anything the House did must have 
been, ipso facto, above suspicion! Davison had had, 
long before he became a member of it, a great admira- 
tion for the Morgan firm. He had an almost passionate 
belief in the excellence of its motives. But that did 
not mean that he attributed lack of excellence to the 
motives of others. He was under no possible illusions 
on the subject of that reputed omniscience in financial 
matters which "The Street" sometimes attributed to 
the firm. He knew well enough the frailty of human 
wisdom. His most extravagant estimate of the firm's 
good judgment would have been to attribute to it the 
advantage of having turned out right more often than 
wrong. One morning, at partners' meeting, he under- 
took to report briefly upon the progress of a corpora- 


tion whose affairs he had been especially deputed to 

"Gentlemen", said Harry in his whimsical way, "I 
am sorry that I cannot bring you better news. I was 
so confident of the success of this particular concern 
that I put some money in it myself intending, on the 
proceeds of the investment, to send my sister to Europe. 
I find that my sister has now arrived at Xenia, Ohio." 

Now and then throughout this volume will occur 
phrases from Davison's lips, even from my own per- 
haps, indicating the faith that was in us as to the ex- 
cellence of the intentions animating the firm of which 
we were fellow-members. Not in extenuation or apol- 
ogy, but in explanation, I may add that it is natural, 
and in fact inevitable, that one long identified with 
the firm should write from the firm's view-point, and 
should not attempt to hide under a bushel any light 
which might serve to illumine the important character 
of some of its operations. 

Davison's story may well be styled as typically 
American. Born in a small town in Pennsylvania, in a 
normal American home of modest resources, he learned 
perforce from the outset the invaluable lessons of 
economy, of the cost and value of money as the visible 
reward of hard work. In that experience, common 
enough all over the world, he was inspired by the more 
definitely American conviction and fact that the "top 
of the ladder" was none too high for him to reach by 
his own efforts, with no methods other than the most 
straightforward. If ever the copy-book phrases of 
truth, industry, persistence, courage, applied to any- 
body in this world they applied to Harry Davison. 

A certain quality of merriment, of bubbling joy in 
life for its own sake, had rooted so deeply in his early 
childhood that nothing afterward ever killed it. It 


might well have been killed by the chill that fell upon 
him when he was nine years old, and the death of his 
mother finally sent him to live with an uncle who, 
together, with his sterling virtues, had the severest of 
Puritan temperaments and had limited sympathy with 
the exuberance of childhood. It may be that in this 
period the boy acquired that reticence as to inner life 
and personal emotions which has left his record bare of 
such expression. But nothing ever chilled the spirit of 
friendliness and optimism of which he was the embodi- 
ment and which played a vital part in his success with 

Nor did the smallness of the stage upon which he 
played his early parts cramp his vigor or dull his eager 
vision of his future. He did, one by one sometimes 
it must have seemed interminably the things that lay 
at hand to be done ; did them well and loyally. And 
one by one they fell behind him, as by that fidelity in 
small things he proved himself ruler over larger fields. 
If there be such a thing as luck, it served him too ; some- 
times things seemed in an uncanny fashion to fall his 
way, to work out better than even he dared to hope. 
But for the most part what some called luck was the 
added factor of personal charm, that gift of the gods 
that draws friends, ties them in and makes them long 
to serve far beyond any letter of agreement. 

Did he ever suffer serious rebuff in all his career? 
I doubt it. Disappointments, discouragements, yes, 
plenty of them. Set-backs so decided as to rouse his 
fighting blood and set into motion every ounce of de- 
termined energy that he had. But serious and per- 
manent rebuff, actual defeat, even temporary, in any 
of his many fields of endeavor such ill-chance he 
seemed always able to avoid. In this respect Harry 
Davison appeared to lead a charmed life, but the charm 


was one of his own weaving. And perhaps some of his 
very victories were due to his simply refusing to accept 

The story of Davison's major business life runs al- 
most parallel with that of a great and in some ways 
revolutionary period in banking and finance, particu- 
larly notable in the United States, but more or less 
marked throughout the world. It would be difficult to 
tell very much of Davison's life without describing 
some of the phenomena which marked the period 
through which he worked. Learning at retail, so to 
speak, in a small, up-country town, the rudiments, of the 
banking business which was more or less indigenous in 
his mother's family, he refused to be confined within the 
narrow compass, outgrew it and passed in amazingly 
few years on to the widest ranges of international ac- 
tivity and influence. It is hard to set limits to the part 
he might have played, the place he might have attained, 
had not fate brought his earthly life, barely beyond the 
mark of fifty years, to an untimely end. 

Even that end "borne on the breath that men call 
Death" he met with the same composure, the same 
blithe courage, with which he had met every other test 
and crisis of life. In those last days, facing the des- 
perate surgical attempt which he had little chance of 
surviving, he challenged fate and faith in these words 
to one of his closest friends : 

"All my life I have resolved, when my time came, to 
go standing up, calmly and confidently. It is God's 
provision for us. And you know, my dear friend, it is 
the great adventure," 

Such in brief was the man whose self-expressing life, 
whose efforts and achievements in the service of his 
country, I have haltingly attempted to throw light upon 
in the writing of this volume. It was with great hesi- 


tation that I undertook the task, partly because of the 
Inevitable pressure of daily work which I foresaw must 
necessarily claim my first attention and delay this 
undertaking. But it appealed to me as hardly less than 
tragic that a man as widely known and as much beloved 
by his friends as Harry Davison should, in the prime of 
life and with the door opening to further opportunities 
of public service, "go down into the silences" and leave 
behind only scattered memories in the minds of his 
friends and in the records of his business. The sense 
of his loss has been, and remains, so keen that one felt 
that, so far as possible with the meagre written record 
which he left, no slightest memory of a word or deed 
should be lost All of it, every success and every mis- 
take, played such an important part in the development 
of that thoroughly human and humane personality that 
was the man as we knew him. 

I hardly have to add that all who have cooperated 
in this not easy task have been filled with the same feel- 
ing the love which we bore and which we still bear for 
Harry Davison, a leader and an inspiration to us all. 


I shall not attempt to mention by name all of Harry Davison's friends who 
have shown their interest and eagerness to help in this work; but because of 
the especially welcome contribution which she has furnished I must express 
my admiration and gratitude to Davison's sister, Mary Davison LeBraz, for 
her charming account of her brother's boyhood. I must mention also the 
melancholy satisfaction which I feel in having secured some years ago the 
interesting account, by my dear friend and former partner, the late Dwight 
W. Morrow, of the saving of New York City's credit in 1914.. To George B. 
Case, Martin Egan, John Palmer Gavit and others I am much indebted for 
their ^share, so generously given, in illuminating Davison's work in the 
American Red Cross ; and to Carrington Weeras for his great assistance in 
inquiry and textual work. 

It should be noted that Davison was christened, not "Henry" but "Harry." 
After entering active business he decided to sign himself in all important 
matters "Henry P. [sometimes Pomeroy] Davison". But aside from the fact 
of his christening, he was so invariably known as "Harry", not only among 
his intimates but in a wider world, that I have usually alluded to him by 
that name. 



Three significant periods in Davisons career His early work in bank- 
ing organization and important banking consolidations Outbreak of 
the Great War Davison and the preservation of New York City's 
credit His effective plan for bringing into order the chaotic Allied 
purchasing arrangements in America The Red Cross under his 
direction helping to win the War 

introductory chapter is intended to furnish a 
JL preliminary survey of the chief and most striking 
phases of Davison's life. In outlining it in this way I 
undoubtedly run some risk of giving the plot away in 
advance, so to speak. But it seems to me of value to 
the reader to have at the outset some outline sketch 
of Davison's field of action. 

In the fifty-four years of life that Henry Pomeroy 
Davison lived, there were many periods and phases, 
each one full of vitality and interest. But of them all 
there were three that stand out as the most important, 
as marking his most constructive achievements. These 
periods all fell within the last fifteen years of his life. 

The first was in his closing years as vice-president 
of the First National Bank of New York and his earlier 
days as a member of the firm of J. P. Morgan & Co. 
This was the period in which Davison became the chief 
factor in certain banking organizations and consoli- 
dations that were not only important in themselves, but 
were the forerunners of others which greatly changed 
and strengthened the banking situation in New York. 
The second of the three periods was roughly from 


August r, 1914, the outbreak of the Great War, until 
America's entry into the War in April, 1917. And the 
third period was that of his service as head of the 
American Red Cross, a work which most of his friends 
regard as the crowning achievement of his life. Davi- 
son himself looked upon it as his most important work. 

As to that first period, it is well to recall that Davi- 
son, in 1903, had been the moving spirit in the forma- 
tion of the BankeisJ^ of New York. It 
was he who gathered togetherlhe younger set of bank- 
ers to make a new experiment in banking cooperation, 
and to found an institution which was destined to 
become a most conspicuous example of initiative and 
prudence in the American banking field. The Bankers 
Trust Company, from the start, inherited and imbibed 
from Harry Davison a portion of that fearlessness of 
his, joined with ample caution. So great a part did the 
Bankers Trust Company and its associations play in 
Davison's life and affections that, at some risk of over- 
emphasis, there has been added a detailed chapter on 
that phase of his work. 

With the Bankers Trust Company already a success, 
Davison, as soon as he became a member of J. P. 
Morgan & Co., turned his attention to other situations 
in the banking field, situations requiring study and a 
firm hand. Thus, acting always with the approval 
and frequently at the suggestion of the late J. Pierpont 
Morgan, Davison undertook to merge the Fifth Avenue 
Trust Company and the Morton Trust Company into 
the Guaranty Trust Company, and soon thereafter 
brought to the enlarged institution as its chief execu- 
tive officer an old school friend, Charles H. S^bin, 
under whose active hand the institution grew very 
rapidly. Later, in 1912, the Guaranty Trust Company 
took in the Standard Trust Company. In 1911, the 


Bankers Trust Company, Davison's special care, ab- 
sorbed the Mercantile Trust Company and soon after 
that the Manhattan Trust Company. 

The result of these combinations was that the bank- 
ing situation was considerably consolidated and 
strengthened, and the institutions themselves so en- 
riched as to be able to attract increasingly strong man- 
agerial talent These banking consolidations, of which 
Davison was the engineer-in-chief, later pointed the 
way to others in which he himself was not immediately 
concerned. But he had blazed the trail. Not that 
before his time banking consolidations were entirely 
untried, but rather that he was one of the first men in 
American banking to see the necessity for large and 
important banking units to serve the enormously greater 
units of business necessary in latter-day finance. He 
was one of the first to anticipate and meet in a large 
way the greater needs that were arising in the business 
world. Such consolidations had taken place in the 
foreign banking field, especially in England where the 
great British nation of merchants had required facili- 
ties to handle its commerce covering the seven seas. In 
the same way and for the same purpose Davison was a 
constructive pioneer in coordinating and building up 
American banking. How much further this tendency 
to combination and to the creation of larger banking 
units has moved since Davison's death in 1922 it is 
unnecessary to point out. 

As for that second period in Davison's business life, 
it began, as I say, with Great Britain's declaration of 
war on Germany on August 4, 1914. The effect of this 
upon American commercial and financial markets was 
immediate and severe. Stock market prices tumbled, 
of course, but that fact was of comparatively small 
moment. What caused the gravest immediate concern 


to the leaders of American finance was the demoraliza- 
tion of the foreign exchange markets and, in particular, 
the fall in the value of the dollar. Owing to this devel- 
opment one critical situation of great moment arose 
almost at once. The City of New York had maturing 
abroad, prior to January i, 1915, the heavy sum of 
$80,000,000. New York City's good name was in- 
volved in meeting those obligations promptly. Yet 
the city did not have the gold to ship, and even if the 
City Comptroller had been able to buy the exchange 
in die completely abnormal conditions then prevailing, 
the transaction might have cost the city a premium of 
something like fifteen or twenty million dollars. 

At that critical juncture the city authorities appealed 
to the business instinct and to the patriotism of New 
York's bankers. J. P. Morgan & Co. at once interested 
themselves actively in the situation. Strong discour- 
agement to any plan of attempting to raise in gold the 
great sums required came from many quarters. But 
with the approval and cooperation of J. P. Morgan,* 
Davison became active in overcoming detailed opposi- 
tion to the plan of securing gold. Accordingly the 
Morgan firm invited Messrs. Kuhn, Loeb & Co. to 
join them as managers and within a few days, with 
the cooperation of all the leading banking institutions 
of the city, organized a syndicate which agreed to buy 
$100,000,000 of the city's obligations, and of that $100,- 
000,000 to pay in gold the sum of $80,000,000. Thus 
was provided the gold necessary to export in order to 
meet New York City's promises-to-pay in England and 

The operation was most successful in every detail. 
New York City issued its notes in the amount of $roo,- 

* This was J. P. Morgan, the younger or Jr., who had succeeded his father 
as head of the firm after the death of the latter on March 30, 1913. 


000,000, and so well had the operation been handled 
that upon the offering on September 17, 1914, J- P. 
Morgan & Co. received almost six thousand individual 
applications for the notes. New York City's obliga- 
tions were discharged and her credit abroad was placed 
on a higher level than ever before : because New York 
had paid on the dot in gold, something that no other 
city, and in fact no other country, at that time was 
attempting to do. This was a piece of War financing 
in which Davison's vigor and wide influence were 
turned to account This transaction was of such mo- 
ment and so fully deserves permanent record that it 
forms the substance of a special contribution to this 
volume prepared by the late Dwight W. Morrow, who 
himself was most active in the whole operation. 

These early War difficulties in the American finan- 
cial and exchange markets came to an end in the autumn 
of 1914. Then, with the immense demand for food and 
raw materials that the Allies precipitated upon Amer- 
ica, the exchanges quickly shifted ; the American dollar, 
as compared with the leading European currencies, had 
gone back to par with the pound sterling in November, 
and with the French franc in January, 1915. Not long 
after this the dollar went to a premium over both for- 
eign currencies. Davison watched with careful and 
thoughtful eyes these growing purchases in America 
directed by the Allied ministries of war and navy, and 
of course by foreign manufacturers and merchants 
called upon to supply the extraordinary war demand of 
the governments and civilian populations. What was 
going on in America was easy to see: the Allies had 
begun to compete against one another upon a grand 
scale in the American markets. Not only that, but the 
various departments or ministries of the same govern- 


ment were frequently in active competition among 

The War had come so quickly and had moved so fast 
that in the ministries at London and Paris there had 
been no time for coordination. It was the business of 
the British War Office to equip its expeditionary force 
to the limit and Lord Kitchener, the head of the War 
Office, was a driver who would brook no obstacles or 
delay. The army stocks on hand in England were ex- 
hausted in short order; the British local markets were 
swept bare; and so Kitchener had to turn immediately 
to America. He required supplies of all kinds beef, 
grain, cotton, wool, horses, leather, steel, brass, and 
copper. At the same moment it was the business of 
the British Admiralty to keep itself just as fully and 
as promptly equipped as the neighboring War Office, 
and now and then without much apparent regard for 
what the War Office was doing in the same markets. 
One mentions the instance of competition between these 
two great departments simply to illustrate the extraor- 
dinary character of this situation. Of course, it was 
made worse by the scramble here for military supplies 
on the part of other departments and of other govern- 

It was easy to see where such unbridled competition 
would lead. Two results were inevitable. The first 
would be a failure on the part of the Allies to secure in 
any orderly fashion and, in fact, in anything like suf- 
ficient volume the supplies sorely needed. Inciden- 
tally they would be paying prices so exorbitant that 
their resources would all the sooner become depleted. 
The second result appertained to American industry 
itself, which would become thoroughly demoralized. 
Nothing is quite so upsetting to manufacture as wild 
and runaway markets ; demands upon them, impossible 


of fulfillment, to be succeeded by sudden slackening 
or cessation. It was easy to foresee and even to foretell 
with accuracy these results which would be of disad- 
vantage (if one may be permitted to compare them) 
almost equally to the cause of the Allies and to Amer- 
ican industry. But how to avoid those results was the 
puzzling question. 

Harry Davison was the man who had a plan to 
remedy the situation. His idea was a simple one. It 
was to coordinate, through an American agent, the 
chief purchases in this country of the Allies and of their 
various departments. In working out this idea, Davi- 
son of course had in mind the two very points I have 
described. In J. P. Morgan & Co.'s office, from the 
first of August, 1914, all were heart and soul for the 
Allies, and of all the partners Davison was the most 
fertile in new ideas. What he said in effect was that 
here was a chance for the firm of which he was a mem- 
ber to render the Allies a great service by coordinating 
their American purchases and by bringing orderliness 
to their methods. He sensed also that an orderly de- 
velopment of these purchases would mean great oppor- 
tunity, great expansion, great prosperity for American 
manufacture and the whole American business com- 

The moment Davison conceived the idea of proffer- 
ing the services of his partners and himself to the Allies 
to co-ordinate their purchases, or, in fact, in any 
capacity that would be helpful, he broached it to Mr. 
Morgan and the rest of his partners. Davison had no 
completely developed plan; it was just a thought an 
instinctive protest against confusion an idea prompted 
by the chaotic conditions becoming more evident every 
day. All the partners, including Davison himself, who 
was open-mindedness personified, could see serious ob- 


stacles to the idea. How, for instance, could it be 
expected that any one of the Allied governments would 
put itself largely in the hands of a single American firm 
in such a vital matter as that of its supply of food and 
munitions? Or how could we avoid being caught 
almost at once in an impasse, if we attempted to act at 
one and the same moment for the British War Office 
and for the Admiralty? Yet, all things considered, the 
partners agreed that Davison's idea was worth trying. 

"All right," said he to Mr. Morgan, "you jump on 
the steamer and make the offer first to the British 

"You jump on the steamer yourself," retorted Mr. 
Morgan, "this is your idea. You go over and explain 
it Then if you need me too, I will come." 

On November 26, 1914, Davison sailed for England, 
and early in 1915 the arrangement was made whereby 
the Morgan firm was to undertake to handle a great 
part of the British Government purchases in this 

Now as to that third phase of Davison's active life. 
Some people look upon his War work as head of the 
American Red Cross simply as a very unusual job of 
money-raising, and an extraordinary piece of adminis- 
tration. It was far more, far greater than either of 
those things. It is hardly too much to say that Davi- 
son's imagination and work had influence on the Amer- 
ican people in setting up an entirely new standard of 
giving, in establishing a new scale of generosity that 
has since been felt in efforts of charitable and educa- 
tional giving throughout the country. Since, in that 
first Red Cross drive, the country as a whole learned 
how to give, the scale for rich and poor has been im- 
measurably increased. In the ten years following the 
close of the War something like one billion dollars was 


contributed to our educational institutions alone, as 
contrasted with a total of say $339,000,000 of such 
contributions in the previous decade. The extraor- 
dinary organization of the successive Red Cross Drives 
proved again the advantage of handling great philan- 
thropic enterprises with the same orderliness and effi- 
ciency with which business corporations are usually 

The start of Davison's Red Cross work was, so far 
as my own observation went, at a luncheon in the 
offices of J. P. Morgan & Co. where the partners gath- 
ered daily, and where they frequently had with them 
a few personal friends. On this occasion, early in May, 
1917, about a month after America entered the war, 
there were half a dozen of the Morgan partners, includ- 
ing J. P. Morgan and Davison; and as guests we had 
Cleveland H. Dodge, Robert W. deForest, Charles 
Dyer Norton, all three of them now dead, and 
Cornelius N. Bliss, Jr. These^four men had long been 
identified with the Red Cross and were members of its 
executive committee, the chairman of which, with 
headquarters in Washington, was Eliot Wadsworth of 

Davison showed an immediate and extraordinary in- 
terest in the situation, as these friends described it 
to him. They in turn were much impressed with the 
largeness of his conception of the work. His encourag- 
ing attitude led to further conferences, and, to make a 
long story short, he was soon invited by President Wil- 
son, at the suggestion of the gentlemen named, to as- 
sume the chairmanship of a newly created Red Cross 
War Council which, during the period of the War, was 
to take over the administration of the whole society, 
coordinate it with similar relief efforts abroad and, in 
a word, mobilize all its resources, not simply for the 


succor of the sick and wounded, but for the winning of 
the War. And it was this task to which Harry Davi- 
son, from that moment on, devoted his whole being, 
gave to it, in sickness and in health, all those varied 
powers of imagination, of leadership, and of adminis- 
tration which he possessed in such abundance. 

Every one recalls the great Red Cross campaign for 
$100,0003000 which was launched and carried through 
in the summer of 1917. Experienced campaigners in 
charity looked upon this stupendous sum as impossible 
to secure, and the country at large at first regarded 
the effort as noble but quixotic. But Davison and the 
able lieutenants who came running at his call organized 
the country as it had never been organized before for 
any purpose, political or otherwise. Every existing 
organization was utilized and directed with one aim to- 
wards this supreme effort of the Red Cross. Churches, 
schools, clubs, dramatic societies, fraternal orders, 
business corporations everything was poured into the 
great hopper of the Red Cross. It was this vast, this 
eager organization penetrating into the tiniest hamlets 
in the land, just as it covered its greatest cities, this 
unique and superb organization which brought success 
this and one other great factor, namely: Davison's 
personal success in gaining huge individual subscrip- 
tions to start the ball rolling. Men who would ordi- 
narily have considered $100,000 as their limit, gave 
$1,000,000; families of extremely limited means, which 
in the old days would with difficulty have given a 
dollar, mobilized all their meagre resources and made 
it twenty-five. 

As Harry Davison succeeded at the very start in 
establishing this new scale of giving, so he carried it 
through to a triumphant end. And the country awoke 


one morning to realize, perhaps for the first time, its 
enormous latent power of wealth. Its almost hidden 
sources of generosity and that, too, from a people 
which had already been accounted lavish. One Hun- 
dred Million Dollars! That was the new mark set to 
show to the American people their power for generosity 
and sacrifice. 

So it was that In this respect Davison performed a 
great feat In helping to win the War. "Perhaps the 
finest piece of executive management accomplished dur- 
ing the entire War," Colonel House has called it. 

The second direction In which Davison's genius 
showed itself was in the extraordinarily helpful atti- 
tude which the American Red Cross adopted towards 
the French poilu in the early mqnths of American 
participation in the War. This was in the autumn of 
1917, perhaps the most discouraging period for the 
Allies in the whole War. For, on the Italian front, the 
Caporetto disaster had come like an avalanche from 
the Alpine peaks hanging threateningly over it. And 
in Russia Kerensky, fighting desperately but futilely 
to hold his country staunch to the Allies, had fallen. 
The red terror of Bolshevism had succeeded him and 
was even then planning the disastrous "Peace of Brest- 
Litovsk" with Germany. France was literally being 
bled white and, though gallant and heroic still, was 
staggering under the blows. America was in the War 
and yet she was not. That great and life-giving 
stream of khaki had not yet begun to flow across the 
Atlantic to bring the Allied forces renewed vigor and 
courage. In the French army in the dark days of 
1917, following the ill-fated spring drive on the 
Chemin-des-Dames, there was discouragement, there 
was disaffection. There was worse in many divisions 


there was open mutiny. The strain of three constant 
years in the trenches, with their families for all they 
knew i n wan t and hunger at home, was too much for 
some of the troops. And the trouble might have 

Then it was that the American Red Cross literally 
came to the front. Petain, a Marshal of France, has, 
later on in this volume, paid his tribute to the extraor-. 
dinary help given to him at this time by the American 
Red Cross under Davison. He explains how the 
French army division commanders would prepare long 
lists of the most worthy poilus who were in deep 
anxiety over the case of their families at home; and 
substantial sums for relief would at once be sent to 
these families from the American Red Cross. In this 
way a double service was rendered ; the families were 
materially relieved and were quickly made to realize 
that America, strong and resourceful America, was 
already on hand to help them. Next, and perhaps 
even more important, the French soldier, worn and 
broken, was, in the words again of Marshal Petain, 
lifted out of a "certain lassitude, prelude to discourage- 

On this point I can add one word of personal testi- 
mony. Early in December, 1917, being in Paris on a; 
War errand of minor importance, I was taken to call 
on M. Clemenceau who, in the midst of the discourage- 
ment I have described, had been called back to be 
Premier of France. Indeed, that was the hour for the 
"Tiger" to return. The stream was on the ebb; the 
tide seemed flowing out,, perhaps never to return, 
Clemenceau leapt into the middle of it and dammed it. 
He was like a great, massive rock that swift, rushing 
water could not move. He was a barrier, a mighty 



fortress that could not be shaken. All this Is to say 
that, as he welcomed me In the early dusk of that 
gloomy December day, he grasped my hand and spoke 
In moving terms of the help which America was al- 
ready rendering to his beloved soldiers through the Red 
" Cross ; of the fine Imagination and bold execution which 
\0were proving to France that America was in truth by 
er side. 

By some the question was feebly raised as to whether 
e American Red Cross had the right to spend in this 
Irway any part of funds given to it by the American 
[\people, many of whom, it was asserted, had expected 
these funds to be used first of all in material ways, in 
supplying bandages and hospital nursing for American 
doughboys. But Davison had a much broader idea 
than this. He knew his own country and his country- 
men. He knew that when their Congress declared war 
on Germany on April 6, 1917, from that moment the 
land was fired to win the War, to win it at the earli- 
}est moment and in the most effectual way. He felt, 
wOtoo, that, when it became manifest that American 
in troops in volume could not reach the battle lines in 
-A France before the late spring of 1918, then it became 
jthe business of the American people (and so of its Red 
^ Cross) to help the French and British armies fight the 
^(battles which, if a miracle could have taken place, 
Pershing's army would even then have been fighting 
with the gallantry which later marked its every action. 
Many mistakes of administration there were in the 
Red Cross during the War, as Davison himself was the 
f^first to point out. But is it extravagant to say that its 
fr first great purpose that of helping the Allied armies to 
hold firm and of strengthening their morale until the 
American army reached the battlefield the American 


Red Cross accomplished, and in a manner extraordi- 
narily thorough and effective? The Allied army chiefs 
looked upon this accomplishment as a work of genius. 
And so it was. But with it all there was, of course, 
never a time when Davison did not have foremost in 
his mind and heart the care and well-being of the 
American doughboys. 



Harry's childhood days Death of his mother He makes a~ new 

home for himself Family and religious life in Merrick Pomeroy's 

house The young school teacher Boarding-school times in New 

England Departure from Troy for the world of affairs 

HENRY POMEROY DAVISON, familiarly known as 
Harry Davison, was born in Troy, Bradford 
County, Pennsylvania, June 13, 1867. His father, 
George Bennett Davison, whose business it was to sell 
farming implements, had a creative imagination. He 
was an inventor; to puzzle out an improvement for a 
harrow or a mowing machine was to him an absorbing 
hobby. Harry's mother, Henrietta Bliss Pomeroy, was 
talented, musical, and had an irresistible magnetism; 
everybody loved her. She died while Harry was a' 
little boy. No one now living and able to speak re-, 
members her or can say what part she may have played 
in the fixation of his essential character ; but it requires 
no stretch of imagination and probability to see in him 
the qualities of both of his parents : the ingenious mind 
of the one, the charm, brilliancy, and gift for friend- 
ship of the other. For the rest, the environment now 
to be described afforded a warp through which this 
virile, magnetic, joyous personality wove the pattern 
which made up Harry's early years. 

Like many other towns of that period, Troy was a 
self-reliant, thriving little place, the surrounding f arm- 

* Contributed by Mary Davison LeBraz. 



ing country acting as a kind of commercial watershed 
to its prosperity. For all farmers who were within 
driving distance Troy was a clearing house. They 
drove there every Saturday afternoon with butter and 
eggs and grain; they put their money in the bank or, if 
necessary, they borrowed on a mortgage; they could 
buy a plow or have a horse shod and the wives could 
"visit" in the dry-goods store. Every hitching post 
had one or two horses attached to it. Those were the 
days when there was not a sleigh without two buffalo 
robes, and no one seemed to be poor. Elmira, a com- 
paratively large town just over the line in New York 
State, was only twenty-five miles away, but Troy asked 
nothing of Elmira and probably gave nothing. Troy 
had everything she needed : a school, a bank, two hotels, 
two tanneries, two flour mills, and seven churches. 
Boys born in Troy were supposed to live in Troy; most 
of them did. A sort of walled town which had never 
been molested by new ideas ; orderly, with . no loose 
boards in the sidewalks; three neat streets, Canton, 
Elmira, and Main, radiating from its center the bank 
and, back of the town, Paine's Hill for boys to climb. 
This was the prosperous and satisfied atmosphere into 
which Harry Davison was born. Added to this was a 
solid foundation of family, the inter-marriage of the 
Davisons and Pomeroys creating a close network of 
relationship. Two of Harry Davison's aunts on the 
paternal side married half brothers of his mother. 

Merely to enumerate the names of the Davisons 
would describe them: Amanda Malvina, Araminta 
Maria, Susan Sophronia and Annice Amelia, George 
Bennett (Henry's father) being the only brother and 
the youngest. They all lived and grew old in Troy. 
They were as permanent and dependable as their 
names indicated. The Pomeroys were equally solid, 


with names equally descriptive : Daniel, Eleazar, Hor- 
ace, Samuel, Newton, Merrick, and Henrietta. Both 
families were predestined to be pillars of the church 
and they were. One day a man passing through the 
village, pointed to the Presbyterian church and asked 
a little boy what church it was. 

"That? Why, that is Merrick Pomeroy's church," 
was the answer. Which was perhaps an overstatement, 
but there was some truth in it for, of all the Pomeroy 
brothers, Uncle Merrick, with whom Harry's life was 
to be so closely associated, was the most devout. He 
searched the Scriptures daily and obeyed them liter- 
ally, with the faith of a child. The Bible, in the hands 
of so conscientious and austere a servant of the Lord, 
knew no exegesis. For him, to spare the rod was, in 
effect, to spoil the child, and it never occurred to him 
that the fear of the Lord could be exaggerated. His 
was a bleak school with a cold master. He did not rely 
on his own judgment. He blindly followed the Bible 
as common tradition interpreted it, without any dis- 
crimination. The example of Uncle Merrick's simple 
sincerity made on Harry's young mind a deep impres- 
sion which fostered his instinctive distaste for anything 
that might have the slightest taint of sacrilege. 

No tyrant could have been more merciless than pub- 
lic opinion bred in a small Presbyterian church fifty 
years ago. Its code was absolute. It was easy to know 
right from wrong; the relentless line was drawn 
straight: all religious or social activity in the church 
was right and most outside pleasures were under sus- 
picion. That code dictated how Sunday was to be 
spent. As one of the days of the week it was Sunday, 
but on Saturday at sunset it began to be reverently 
called "the Sabbath day." Only to hear the word pro- 


nounced in the customary, hushed tone inspired fear 
and gave a sense of repression. Sunday breakfast was 
a silent meal, worldly subjects and thoughts were shut 
out, so that the mind might be prepared for the en- 
trance of the Holy Spirit It was the Lord's day and 
should be set apart Books, papers, and sewing or 
knitting were put away; only the Bible and The Evan- 
gelist, the weekly Presbyterian paper, were left on the 
table. After breakfast the family went to the sitting- 
room for prayers a particularly solemn moment. As 
soon as the church bell began to ring, the women put 
on their bonnets and waited for the first toll of the bell ; 
then they rose and the whole family, imbued with the 
spirit of reverence, gravely walked to church, where 
they sat lost in silent meditation. 

The sermon and the long prayer were, for children, 
interminable distances that had to be crossed and, nat- 
urally, they snatched at anything which could be a 
diversion. The most absorbing one was to count the 
candles on the blue and gold chandelier which hung 
from the center of the ceiling, and those around the 
pillars on the sides. Half the time could be killed in 
that complicated calculation. Then "Fred," Uncle 
SamuePs mongrel, walked piously down the aisle every 
Sunday; his arrival always aroused the hope of some 
unholy disturbance. There was Jacob Conrad who 
rang the bell. He came in late through a special little 
front door near the pulpit, and every eye was riveted 
on that corner to watch for his sanctimonious entrance. 
Then there was a small side seat at the back of the 
church under which, according to the version of chil- 
dren, the child Samuel slept, but no one ever saw him 
or heard him say "Here, Lord, am I," for he only came 
out when the church was dark and empty. This they 



firmly believed, just as they pictured Absalom hung by 
the head in an oak in Redington's woods, on the edge 
of the town; for such were the fairy-stories of Troy 

The atmosphere was an entirely different one in the 
Sunday school which came immediately after the 
morning service. The old people were separated from 
the young ones, so need for appearances was gone and 
everybody had a better time. The afternoon was an- 
other endless space with nothing to do a void. You 
could not play, you could not take a walk, you could 
not read anything, unless It were a Sunday-school book 
and, after the Elsie Dinsmore books and Almost a Nun 
had been exhausted, there was nothing exciting to ask 
for. Four hours to walk in the vegetable garden, or 
sit in the hammock dragged unmercifully. It was 
such a dull and heavy afternoon that Christian En- 
deavor at half-past six came as a relief, and the even- 
ing service which followed was not bad, for it gave 
at least something to do. The tension of the morning 
was gone, and unforeseen events were more likely to 
happen: the intrusion of a June bug in summer was 
full of possibilities, and all the year round there was 
always a hope that some one might go to sleep. As 
soon as a head began to nod, a signal to watch for a 
snore flashed from boy to boy. But the best part came 
at the end, when a lad chose which girl to take home, 
and Harry was never at a loss. Years later when, as a 
bank clerk in New York, he went back to Troy to visit, 
he found that the old attitude towards Sunday had not 
changed. Once he went home to spend Memorial Day 
which fell on a Monday. Arriving early Sunday morn- 
ing, on his way from the station he met the minister 
who, after a cordial greeting, asked when he came : 


"I just arrived, Mr. Sewell." Mr. SewelFs face in- 
stantly sobered : 

"What, Harry, traveling on Sunday?" 

Tragedy entered early into Harry's life; his mother 
died when he was nine, leaving four children, a boy 
older than Harry, and his two younger sisters, one a 
baby six months old. His father's situation was a 
complicated one. Business obliged him to be away 
from Troy frequently, and his home was shattered. 
He was helpless to face alone the problem of guiding 
a family of four small children with no mother. The 
three eldest Eddie, Harry, and Mary each went 
for the time being to live with an aunt; Henrietta, 
the baby, was adopted by Uncl?~Merrick. Harry's sur- 
roundings at this time were not those prescribed as 
ideal for an affectionate small boy. He had too many 
guardians and no one in particular. He had to learn 
a great deal all at once. The first Christmas after his 
home was broken up, he hung up his stocking as usual 
and the next morning he stole downstairs in the dark 
to see if Santa Claus had his new address. His stock- 
ing was hanging limp and empty; on the floor under 
it lay a pair of mittens. He went back to bed but not 
to sleep. 

When he was ten he made a new friend, a friend for 
whose influence he was grateful throughout his life. 
That friend was his grandmother, Lucinda Pomeroy. 
The story of their coming together is a touching one : 
early one morning Harry knocked at her door and 
asked if he could live with her. From that day her 
home was his. Truly to understand either the boy or 
the man, you should know something of that grand- 
mother, a woman of natural distinction, whose simple 
dignity always inspired deference; both generous and 













economical (a broken knife handle or a ragged basket 
served for years after it was securely wound with 
string) , and above all, religious. For her, religion^wus^ 
almost an obsession. But the grandmoffieFwas saved, 
humanly^ a sense of humor, and Harry 

quickly learned to turn the subject away from a gloomy 
forecast of the future by introducing a gay note of 
irrelevancy, this to the mental health of them both. 
And so the old lady and the little boy lived together in 
half of a tiny house, he sleeping across the foot of her 
bed, as he was afraid to sleep upstairs alone. 

Harry was a typical boy in a country town, contribut- 
ing with enthusiasm his share towards making Hal- 
lowe'en and the Fourth of July days to be dreaded. 
Money was scarce, his only source of revenue being the 
weekly income of ten cents earned by washing the 
windows of the bank. With soda water at five cents a 
glass and the sundries necessary for school, plus marbles 
and the etceteras that every boy has in his pockets, this 
didn't go far. Tickets for admission to the annual fair, 
a minstrel show or a circus, were beyond his reach, but 
Harry had plenty of invention. 

One day a man began to paste up posters announcing 
the arrival of Uncle Tom's Cabin. All the horrors and 
sentimental sorrows on the billboards were eagerly 
studied by the boys ; they were ready and waiting for 
the show. The day of carting the scenery was a busy 
one; every load had to be followed from the railroad 
station to the opera house (the name was not an in- 
adequate one for designating the room, upstairs back 
of the post office, which served the purpose of theatre) . 
When the bloodhounds appeared, it was more than 
Harry could bear. He had no ticket and no chance of 
one; he had to think quickly. He took a friend, the 
smallest he could find, by the hand and knocked on 


the door of the stage entrance; he explained that his 
small companion could be available for the cast, on 
condition that he, Harry, were admitted as a spectator. 
Luckily, the candidate was just the one needed for the 
scene of Eliza crossing the ice, and Harry sat in the 
front row. 

All of his plans didn't work out so well, however. 
Who does not know the importance of a first loose 
tooth? When the proud moment came to Harry, his 
father offered him a knife for the tooth. It took all 
day, but he earned his reward. Two days later he lost 
the knife, so he pulled out another tooth, a device which 
proved to be a failure from every standpoint 

Among the many playmates who stood ready to rally 
around Harry at the first call, the one he loved most 
was young Dan Pomeroy, Uncle Merrick's only son. 
Dan, in turn, worshipped Harry. For better, for 
worse, they shared their escapades; they were insepa- 
rable. The tie of brotherhood between the two cousins 
became still stronger when Uncle Merrick decided to 
build a house large enough to gather most of the scat- 
tered family under one roof. He had already adopted 
Henrietta; and now Aunt Phronie joined them with 
Mary, and Grandma Pomeroy with Harry. A broad 
and generous hospitality, but to children it had its 
drawbacks, for Uncle Merrick was the most severely 
careful man in the world. He had kept his lumber 
twenty years before his cellar was dug, so that it should 
be well seasoned. The plaster was without a crack and 
the windows never stuck. Four lively children in an 
immaculate new house were in constant disgrace : doors 
slammed when the knob slipped, and it was impossible 
to remember not to touch the paint. The temptation to 
slip off the stair carpet onto the wood was irresistible, 
and it was much easier to wind your scratchy shoes 


around the legs of chairs than to sit with them hanging 
straight down. 

One evening, when the old people had gone to prayer 
meeting, the children broke loose. The race up the 
back stairs and down the front began gradually, but 
rapidly increased in momentum. The doors that had 
springs were propped open with chairs, and there was 
a clean sweep through the house. Everything within 
reach was knocked helter-skelter. It was a wild orgy. 
The end came suddenly. Dan hit the parlor wall with 
an apple core. The spot was up high ; it was the first 
thing you saw from the front door, and rubbing only 
made it worse. Attention was so concentrated on the 
spot that no one thought to straighten furniture or to 
close doors, and Uncle Merrick walked in. It had 
been an hour of reckless hilarity, and it was the last 
one the house ever suffered. 

There was only one school in Troy on High Street, 
which, by the way, we have overlooked but it was a 
good one. All the teachers, except the principal, 
Professor McCollum, were women, most of them gentle 
and very popular with their pupils. One, however, 
Eliza Adams, was a universal terror. She was strong 
and fearless, and kept a long whip lying on a row of 
nails above the blackboard ; no boy was too big for her 
to tackle, and when the spirit moved her, she wielded 
her rawhide like a fury. It was impossible to think 
of Eliza Adams otherwise than as beating some boy. 
After she married and became Mrs. Mitchell, Dan 
Pomeroy said : 

"I wonder where Eliza Adams is now, Harry?" 

"Up in the hills spanking little Mitchells," was the 
prompt rejoinder. 

The most coveted distinction in the school was to be 
chosen to ring the bell. The rope hung in the corner 


of Professor McCollum's room, through a window 
from which you could see panting students running up 
the street A boy could let a friend get in on time by 
ringing a little too long, or stop short to square some 
old score. It was often Harry's turn to be this envied 
arbiter, and yet he was not a "teacher's favorite;" his 
marks didn't warrant it. Nevertheless, there was 
something special about Harry Davison; he had "a 
way with him," the thing that we call personality, 
charm. It was customary, in case of absence of a 
teacher, to send as substitute one of the so-called big 
pupils. Professor McCollum found Harry one of the 
best to serve in this capacity; not that the class made 
much progress under his direction, but he managed to 
get through the session without turmoil. His method 
was simple; he entered the room as master. Once, 
when in charge of his little sister's room, he began 
the day by reprimanding her severely, not that she had 
done anything wrong, but he needed to assert his 
authority. The gesture was efficacious. 

The Pomeroys were all self-made men, ardent be- 
lievers in education and in work. Harry remembered 
being greatly impressed when his Uncle Merrick took 
him one day to watch some men digging a gutter and 
said to him : 

"Those men have had none of the advantages of 
education and, you see, their life is hard; study, my 
boy, so that your lot may be a different one." 

He studied. When school was out, there were al- 
ways duties to be done: the cow to milk or the horse 
to clean, and during the vacation he was a clerk in 
John Dobbins' hardware store. Perhaps Harry's farm- 
ing system had a touch of leisure about it not alto- 
gether professional. The barn was five minutes from 
the pasture ; he never walked to get the cow if he could 


have a horse to ride. This failing, he walked to the 
pasture and rode the cow down to the barn. Forty 
years later, the milking vocabulary was still fresh in 
his mind. At a Bradford County dinner in New York, 
his neighbor at table challenged him on his practical 
knowledge of a real farmer's life : 

"Well," said Harry, "I have spent more time milking 
cows than attending directors' meetings. 1 ' 

This gave the opening for a test: 

"What do you say to a cow when you sit down to 
milk her?" asked the doubter. 

"Heist," said Harry. 

The man was convinced. 

When Harry was fifteen, he took charge of a country 
school for the summer. Everyone knows the type of 
little, red schoolhouse by a dusty road, with the water 
pail and dipper by the door, and the -hats hanging 
above them on a row of pegs. The school was in a 
little hamlet called Canton, ten miles from Troy, and 
Betsy, the old family horse, took Harry over Sunday 
afternoons. He was to be boarded by the farmers, a 
week with each one, and Betsy was to go for him every 
Friday. Much to the surprise of the family, Harry 
walked home Monday night, having taught one day: 
he was homesick. Early the next morning, Betsy took 
him back. After that, he stuck it out for the summer. 

It so happened that on the first trip over to Canton 
Dan Pomeroy, who was to drive Betsy home again, 
stayed to see Harry open his school for the first time. 
Harry had made up his mind beforehand that the job 
was to be properly done. He decided that the right 
way was to lead the school in reciting the Lord's prayer. 
No sooner had he made a fair start than Dan Pomeroy 
got a fit of giggles which, to his dismay, Harry caught 
himself. They were both in difficulties until the prayer 


was finished, although the noise of the students' voices 
helped them out somewhat The moment the ordeal 
was over Harry jumped to his feet, glowered at the 
school, banged the desk and announced : "Henceforth 
there will be no more laughter during the Lord's 

The whole school-teaching experience was a fortu- 
nate one. Harry's ambitions had been stirred. He 


"Grandma, if you will send me to boarding school, 
I will be a good boy always." 

That autumn his wish was gratified, and Greylock 
Institute, in South Williamstown, Massachusetts, was 
the school chosen. It was a proud grandmother who 
went three years later, to his graduation; for Harry 
had taken the four years' course in three, and was 
valedictorian of his class. His interest in foreign prob- 
lems began then, so to speak, the subject of his essay 
being "Gladstone and the Irish Question." 

Banking had been the sole interest of the Pomeroys 
for two generations, so, in spite of his previous training 
as teacher, or as clerk at Dobbins', Harry's career was 
unquestionably to be that of a banker. As a special 
preparation he, accompanied by his friend Charlie 
Sabin, spent several weeks in the winter of 1886, taking 
special courses at the Williams & Rogers Business Col- 
lege, at Rochester, New York. Having completed his 
work, he returned to Greylock, and by hard work made 
up in his studies there the time spent at Rochester. And 
then (1887), back to Troy in earnest, and into the bank. 

His entrance was scarcely noticed; they just added 
a third high stool to the two already there. The per- 
sonnel was restricted to the minimum: two clerks oc- 
cupied the front room and two Pomeroy brothers, 
Samuel and Horace, were in an adjoining back room. 



One of the clerks wrote all day In a big leather-bound 
book, and the other wrote in a second, equally heavy 
book, when he was not paying or counting money. 
Nothing had changed since the bank began; a dollar 
bill given out Monday was sure to be back before 
Saturday. Even the air was the same: a mixture of 
the smell of old leather, money, and coal gas. On the 
wall hung the portrait of Harry's grandfather, in a 
heavy, square gilt frame, covered with tarlatan, his 
gold headed cane suspended under it A loud-ticking 
clock hung opposite the portrait, and some ivy and 
geraniums struggled for life in one of the two big front 
windows. It was a humdrum existence never incon- 
venienced or tormented by the spirit of innovation. 
The senior clerk lived in a room over the bank, his 
hours ticked off evenly with the clock, and with no 
more variation. He walked slowly across the road to 
the hotel for breakfast, then back to the bank; he 
closed the bank at twelve to walk again across the road 
for his dinner ; he reopened the bank at one and closed 
it at six. After supper he sat in a chair (there was a 
row of them) in front of the hotel for an hour. Then 
he walked slowly up Main Street to the end of the side- 
walk and back to his room for the night. He rarely 
spoke. Harry found this beaten path all ready for him, 
not a stone to remove ! He was given a room over the 
bank; he climbed on his high stool, and all looked 

His only form of holiday was to work in the hayfield, 
which belonged to one uncle, or to umpire at a base- 
ball game, a sport much enjoyed by another uncle. 
The disquieting feature no one had foreseen was that 
Harry had ideas: they began to stir the Surface at 
once. At the end of one summer, rich in suggestions 
never followed, Harry, determined to forge ahead, 


went to Cambridge to apply for a Harvard scholarship 
which was offered to a member of the Merrick family. 
Merrick being his grandmother's maiden name, he 
hoped to qualify, but the relationship was too distant : 
he was not eligible. 

Harry's return to Troy was a sad one. His failure to 
enter Harvard had been a blow, and the situation was 
not made easier by one of his uncles, who had frowned 
upon his departure for college, considering it nothing 
but an evidence of instability. At the end of a plain 
talk in which his uncle told him that he was a restless 
element, that so changeable a character as his could 
never hope to succeed, and that, in fact, there was no 
place for those qualities in the bank, Harry found that 
he was in trouble: he was out of a job. The past was 
closed ; what was to be the future? He had to find the 
road. Fortunately, his trip to Boston had not been 
a fruitless one: he had stopped in Bridgeport to see 
some school friends, who had given him a warm wel- 
come and expressed a genuine interest in his welfare. 
He went back to them. 

So the last page of Harry's boyhood was finished. 
He left Troy, but he took with him an indelible im- 
pression of his happiness there. Harry loved Troy. 
He was proud of his native place. He always thought 
that a boy had missed something out of his life if he 
had not known the flavor of a simple beginning. He 
never forgot a detail or a name : they were playthings 
in his memory. "The Tin Bridge" or "Huntley's 
Swimming Hole" evoked untold histories of hooky 
and adventure. When some one suggested to him in 
later life that a certain boy was not to be trusted, as he 
had deceived his parents and gone in swimming in 
March, when he was sure to take cold, Harry said : 


"Don't let that trouble you; at his age, my shirt was 
never dry." 

A game that always amused him was to see who 
could produce the name of a character in Troy, long 
since forgotten; the one who unearthed the most un- 
likely fossil won. Harry was usually the winner. He 
frequently went "home 53 , and always declined to drive 
from the station; he liked better to walk through the 
town. Everybody knew that Harry Davison was com- 
ing on the morning train, and they were all waiting 
expectantly for that smile of his and that shake of the 
hand. He kept in close touch with, and was keenly 
Interested in, all the local problems, and gave his 
counsel generously. Needless to add, he gave more 
than his counsel. Harry loved Troy; Troy loved 
Harry and would tell you what it meant to have on its 
birth-roll the name of Henry Pomeroy Davison. 


Three years at New England boarding school A stimulating atmos- 
phere for both study and pranks A leader among the students 
Life-long friendships formed at school 

i RIEF allusion has been made in the previous chapter 
to Davison's ambition to secure a proper educa- 
tion, and to the years which he finally spent at boarding- 
school. In the life of many boys, preparatory school 
finally proves of more importance than college. If 
England's battles have been won on the playing fields 
of Eton, then, as many an American youth can testify, 
the most decisive battles for orderly methods of work, 
for consistent training of the mind, have been won at 
preparatory school the victory completed at college, 
very likely, but the trenches dug and the campaign put 
irresistibly under way at school. 

Harry Davison was just sixteen years old when he 
entered Greylock Institute at South Williams town, 
Massachusetts. As a boy, he had become strongly im- 
pressed with the idea that he must go beyond the local 
schools of Troy. Troy was something of a cage to him, 
and he was already beating his wings against its bars. 
So in September, 1883, he and his cousin, Dan Pomeroy, 
alighted from the train at Williamstown, and were met 
there by the school stage which, with their modest lug- 
gage piled on top, rumbled over the country roads, 
bright with autumn flowers, to the school where Harry 
was to spend the next three years of his life. 



South Williamstown is in the midst of that wonder- 
ful region of the Berkshires, where thousands of Amer- 
ican youths have been stimulated by the bracing air of 
western New England and inspired by the vigorous 
instruction of New England teachers, of the type reared 
under President Mark Hopkins at Williams College or 
Dr. Timothy Dwight at Yale. Greylock Institute was 
for many years considered one of the best of the New 
England preparatory schools. It had been established, 
as early as 1842, by Benjamin F. Mills, a Williams 
College graduate and, himself, a contemporary of the 
distinguished Mark Hopkins. Greylock was chiefly a 
preparatory school for Williams, but its graduates, 
nevertheless, scattered far and wide among all the New 
England colleges. Its student body numbered about 
one hundred and was made up of boys from typical 
American families sons of clergymen, lawyers, mer- 
chants, and what not most of such families being in 
comfortable circumstances. There were few rich men's 
sons at Greylock, and few of the extremely poor. It 
was not unusual, however, for a boy to work his way, 
in part, through school. The spirit of the whole place 
was democratic and New Englandish. The life was 
simple; luxuries, even comforts, were few. 

Those were the days, almost fifty years ago, when 
automobiles had been imagined but not made. Even 
cigarettes were hardly known, though "cubebs" an 
alleged remedy for catarrh made up in cigarette form 
were occasionally smoked by the Greylock boys. 
Bicycles, to be sure, were beginning to have a vogue, 
but they were the old, high-wheel variety, with the 
little wheel at the rear. But Harry's term bills were 
all that his family could stand without adding the ex- 
penses of a bicycle. 

So, as Harry's friend, Sabin, has pointed out, the 


recreations of the Greylock students were of the sim- 
plest As to football, Greylock had its school team, 
but football had nothing like the call of its later days, 
and, on the whole, the students at South Williamstown 
preferred baseball. Harry played some baseball, but 
was never proficient at it. Of this phase of his life at 
Greylock, Sabin writes : "While Davy, as he was called, 
played baseball and tennis, it was never with any great 
success. He enjoyed the games, but was not sufficiently 
keen about them ever to try for a position on the school 
teams. Notwithstanding the fact that the athletes were 
even then always more or less school heroes, and there- 
fore usually very popular with the other boys, Davy 
was more popular with a greater number of boys than 
any other student in the school. In fact, the leader- 
ship at the time was divided between Davison and Sam 
Maynard, very different types." 

This leadership of Harry's came, of course, from the 
same qualities that he displayed in after life a keen 
intellect and an ability to get on with people. Sabin 
points out that Davison, during most of his three years 
at Greylock, was one of the high-stand pupils in 
scholarship. In June, 1886, when he was graduated, 
he had the distinction of standing at the head of his 
class. He was also editor-in-chief of the Greylock Rec- 
ord, the school publication issued at the end of each 

"But," adds Sabin, "Davy's attention to his studies 
never interfered with his keen and ever-ready response 
to a joke. I have a vivid recollection of one of these, 
which turned out to be a masterpiece of joy to the 
boys and one of equal ignominy to the weary teachers. 
Harry and Dan roomed on the third floor of the dormi- 
tory. In each wing of the dormitory lived a member 
of the faculty, whose duty it was to see that the lights 


were out and the boys In bed at nine o'clock. Late 
one afternoon Davy and Dan secured a good-sized pig 
from the farm, put it in a clothes bag and lugged it 
up to their room. About half past nine, when the 
boys were supposed to be asleep, the pig was let out 
into the long hall. Plenty of eager boys, with their 
negative assistance, were on hand at once, and the game, 
Boys versus Faculty, began. Early in the struggle two 
things were evident : one, that you can't coax a pig, and 
the other, that the faculty team was not in good form. 
To hurry up on a pig is fatal. Everything worked to 
the satisfaction of the boys ; the faculty was well repre- 
sented and the pig was well chosen : he was noisy and 
slippery. Finally, after all the theories of how to catch 
a pig had been tried out, and all the skill and patience 
of the pursuers were spent, the pig was cornered. The 
score stood: Faculty, exhausted; Boys, fresher than at 
the start. The affair created a sensation in the school. 
The faculty members were justly indignant, and all the 
boys were correspondingly delighted. This achieve- 
ment raised Davy more in the eyes of his fellow stu- 
dents than all the high marks that he could get for a 
whole term." 

Such is the soul of a schoolboy, whether he be Tom 
Brown at Rugby, Stalky, or an American lad at Grey- 

Harry's summer vacations were spent at Troy, and 
during the long July and August days he fell back 
readily into the family regime and did his share of the 
chores. But he was always keen, with the early au- 
tumn, to get back to Greylock. There he formed cer- 
tain fast friendships which were to play an important 
part in his after life. The strongest of these was, I 
suppose, that with Charles Sabin. He and Harry al- 
ways had a great attraction for each other. Sabin was 


bred in the region where Greylock was situated. He, 
like Harry, had been born among the high hills. Both 
had the same vivacity, the same high spirits, the same 
sense of humor. These were the qualities in Sabin that 
appealed to Harry these and a certain frankness and 
candor that inspired trust. But even in those early 
days, Harry had a bump of caution somewhat more de- 
veloped than Sabin's, whose daring was one of the 
characteristics that appealed to Harry and to the other 

Another strong friend of Harry's was Nathaniel 
Bishop, whose family lived at Bridgeport and had from 
early days been active in the affairs of the New Haven 
Railroad. Nat Bishop was easily the most original and 
unusual character of Harry's acquaintance. His fund 
of droll stories was inexhaustible, and I have never 
seen Harry laugh so heartily as when he was retell- 
ing one of Nat Bishop's latest tales. 

Troy was a long way from Williamstown fifty years 
ago, and the trip home was expensive. When the short 
spring vacation came, Harry usually visited some boy 
who lived nearer Greylock. Rufus and Harry Peck- 
ham, sons of Justice Rufus Peckham, of the United 
States Supreme Court, were two friends who lived in 
Albany. One Easter, they invited Harry to go home 
with them. As they were starting back to school, one 
of the Peckham boys was standing in line at the win- 
dow of the Albany ticket office. His suitcase was on 
the floor beside him. Harry, always ready for fun, 
slipped in and took it. He had not gone far when he 
was stopped by a heavy hand on his shoulder. He 
turned to find that he was arrested. The officer saw 
him take the bag. Peckham insisted that he had never 
seen Harry before. The joke had miscarried. Harry 
had thrown a boomerang. But finally, when the offi- 


cer's hand was lifted, Harry enjoyed the experience as 
much as anyone. He liked a practical joke, whether 
perpetrated on or by himself. 

Greylock was a world not so different in spirit, per- 
haps, from the rather parochial atmosphere of his native 
Troy, nestling in the rugged hills of northern Penn- 
sylvania. Yet the Institute gave Harry a new and 
fresh outlook. It gave him a wider circle of friends, 
whose families were usually active in the affairs of their 
communities, and who, to his manifest advantage, re- 
membered him with kindly interest in his later days, 
before the time had come when he no longer needed 
a friend or two at court. Above everything else, Grey- 
lock sobered Harry and turned him from a care-free 
boy into a young man, never lacking in high spirits 
or desire for a good time, but at last imbued with the 
knowledge that the business of life is serious and that 
he must be up and about it. 

Harry's Greylock friends, who talk of him as he was 
in those days, recall his humor, his desire for accom- 
plishment, his ready leadership of his fellows. But 
they all say frankly that, with all their early apprecia- 
tion of these qualities, they did not then think of him 
as destined for a high place in the world. They say 
this somewhat shamefacedly, as if, forsooth, at sixteen 
they should have foretold Davison's success. That was 
not to be. It seldom or never is. The child may be 
father to the man. But it required those long," patient 
years of plodding and of effort, those discouragements 
and setbacks, to turn Harry Davison from the country 
lad of Troy, and the prank-loving youth of Greylock, 
into the leader of men that he became long years be- 
fore the end. 


Finding himself in a real job at last Whist parties with P. T. 

Earnum The meeting with Kate Trubee and their engagement 

Fishing and shooting in the Maine woods 

BECOME the man that Troy is proud of today, 
JL Harry had first to leave Troy. Uncle Samuel was 
right: Harry was restless, he had outgrown his sur- 
roundings, his genius had begun to stir, he was on the 
ladder, and he never hesitated to climb a rung higher 
when the way was clear. Bridgeport was his first step. 
When Harry left home his carry-all was light, his 
worldly possessions took small space and he had no 
sustaining letters of introduction. But he had a great 
asset: his incomparable gift for friendship. Friends 
were, from the beginning to the end, the greatest factor, 
perhaps, in Harry's life; he could not work without 
them, he could not play without them. Nothing gave 
him more joy and satisfaction than to have the chance 
to help a friend, and his life was always rich with such 
services big and little. So it was signally fitting that 
the door of his career was opened by a friend a 
gesture which was to become Harry's most character- 
istic one. It was through Nat Bishop, his classmate 
and close companion at Greylock, that Harry at the 
age of^tweatjz^one^became, on June 5, 1888, book- 
keeper in the Pequonnock National Bank at Bridge- 
port at a salary of $800 a year. His three uncles in 
Troy signed his surety bond for $5,000. 

* Contributed by Mary Davison LeBraz. 




His experience at Troy was an excellent training 
school. He applied himself to his task with the avidity 
of youth. The world was before him, and he was be- 
ginning to dream of conquering it. He said that out 
of banking hours he studied the work of the man next 
above him, so that he should be prepared to take his 
place if it were ever offered to him. Banking fasci- 
nated him. He was keen to know all there was to be 
known about every detail of his immediate position, 
to exhaust all that it had to give him and then to leave 
it. He was no patient plodder, content to repeat me- 
chanically the same routine. The present alone did not 
satisfy him; he needed at the same time to have his 
hand on the future, and he had few interests outside 
of his job. He had the habit of early hours, probably 
contracted in Troy where he was obliged to be in his 
bedroom over the bank at ten P.M., even if he had to 
miss the refreshments at a party; for there he was 
responsible for the security of the safe, and it was his 
night duty to watch for burglars through a register 
in the floor of his dreary little shelter. 

Naturally, his first home in Bridgeport was in a 
boarding-house, but he was soon rescued from that dull 
life by an invitation to spend the summer with Herbert 
Knapp, the paying teller in the Pequonnock Bank. 
When autumn came, his host did not want to let him 
go, and so Harry stayed on with him as long as he lived 
in Bridgeport. 

A tendency of Harry's, which became more and more 
definite through his career, was that he liked to be with 
older men. Phineas T. Barnum was one of the direc- 
tors of the bank. As soon as he saw Harry, he took a 
great fancy to him. It was understood that every 
Thursday evening at exactly quarter before eight for 
Mr. Barnum's entertaining had a mathematical preci- 


sion about it Harry was to go to his house to play 
whist At eight o'clock, Mr. Barnum used to look at 
his watch and say with the ostentatious pride of the 
showman : 

"The curtain is now going up in New York" (or 
wherever the circus happened to be). 

At ten o'clock he looked again at his watch, which 
was the sign that lemonade was to be served and that 
the guests were to depart. These naive eccentricities 
amused Harry very much, and he was flattered, after 
all, to be adopted into the circle of lifelong friends by 
the little old gentleman who had invented "The Great- 
est Show on Earth." When Barnum died, Harry was 
an usher at his funeral. 

Another director of the bank who took a special in- 
terest in Harry was W. D. Bishop, Nat's father, a 
distinguished man, president of the New York, New 
Haven & Hartford Railroad. He was the first to bring 
into Harry's life the kind of sport which was to remain 
his chief form of recreation, his most successful way of 
throwing off care and dropping responsibility. As a 
boy, Harry was not an athlete; he was more apt to 
umpire at a game of baseball than he was to pitch. 
Later on, he liked to play tennis and to ride a good 
horse. But what he enjoyed most was hunting and fish- 
ing, provided that he was pretty sure to see some game 
and that the fish were biting. It was Mr. Bishop who 
packed him off for his first trip in the woods, and that 
in a peremptory manner full of the dry humor typical 
of the man. One day, he came to Harry's desk with a 
stranger whom he told to look over the books. Harry 
wondered what was the matter, and he was even more 
concerned when the newcomer, after a hasty examina- 
tion, said that he felt competent to go on with the 


work. Only then came the explanation. Mr. Bishop 
turned to Harry and said: 

"Here is your substitute for two weeks; you, Davison, 
you are to take the three o'clock train for Parmachenee 
to join Nat . . . A trunk with the necessary clothes 
is waiting for you at the station." 

That was all. It was enough. Harry was enor- 
mously pleased. Think of being suddenly plunged into 
the heart of a great forest, when you have only known 
the poor little trees of Redington's woods ! And what 
a glorious experience, to hear for the first time a startled 
deer crash into the underbrush, or to feel the twitch of 
your rod when a trout is on the hook! Harry's capacity 
for enjoyment was boundless. He could give himself 
up to play as unreservedly as he did to work, but when- 
ever he had had a good time he could not rest until, 
with all his keen enthusiasm, he had persuaded some 
friend to start off to do just what he had done. A 
pleasure was not complete for Harry unless he shared 
it. When he came back from Parmachenee, the first 
thing he thought of was how his sister would love that 
trip; and so he sent her over the same ground. He 
liked to make presents, but he liked to make them out 
of season. He gave at Christmas as others do, but that 
was not the form of giving that interested him. He 
liked better to do the unexpected. In fact, most of the 
joy for him was gone from making a present if it lacked 
the shock of surprise. He spent a great deal of thought 
working out schemes for making somebody happy un- 
awares. Just so, he appreciated a reply that had a 
tinge of the unlooked-for about it, as, for example, 
when answering an acquaintance who asked where he 
was born, he said: 


"But I thought you were born in Pennsylvania." 


"Oh!" replied Harry, "I met my wife in Bridge- 

His wife! He could not have summed up in a more 
expressive way what she meant to him and what an 
indispensable part she played in his life. 

One of the oldest Connecticut families established in 
Bridgeport was the Trubee family: father, mother, and 
two daughters. They lived on West Avenue in a com- 
fortable house which was a very popular rendezvous 
for all the young people. Kate, the elder daughter, 
was the soul of hospitality. Herbert Knapp was a 
relative of hers, and one day soon after Harry took up 
his abode with him, the two drove to the Trubee home 
on an errand. While Herbert was in the house, Harry 
held the horse in front, at the horseblock, when sud- 
dently Kate appeared on the veranda and said gaily: 

"Since you don't come to be introduced to me, I 
must come to meet you." This simple candor went 
straight to Harry's heart, and at the end of a year they 
were engaged. 

Not long after this, Harry's sister, Mary, went to pay 
him a little visit at Herbert Knapp's where he was 
staying. The day after she arrived, Harry said: 
"Would you rather go to the circus this evening or to 
prayer meeting? I have tickets for prayer meeting, and 
besides, Kittie Trubee will be there." 

Kate was exactly the wife Harry needed. His tem- 
perament was quick and often impatient; he did not 
like to wait. Kate was calm and steady, not given to 
snap judgments. She talked little but thought clearly. 
She was like her father : when she had adopted a policy, 
nothing swerved her, and this reliable quality was of 
inestimable value to Harry who looked upon it as his 
plumb line. She was in touch with all of his affairs, 
and he never made a decision diametrically opposed 



to her advice. Not that she ever tried to dominate him, 
for there was nothing autocratic in her; no ? she had 
much wisdom and, besides, she studied Harry, and she 
understood him with the intuitive understanding which 
grows out of a deep affection. 

The two were married on April 13, 1893. The date 
would have been avoided by the superstitious as an 
unlucky one, but Harry chose it. He was born on the 
thirteenth, and he claimed that everything of impor- 
tance to him happened on a thirteenth. Several months 
before, Harry had already left Bridgeport for New 
York to become receiving teller in the Astor Place 
Bank. So the young bride left her familiar surround- 
ings to start with her husband towards the destiny he 
was to create for himself in the great city. They began 
housekeeping in a sunny, little flat on the fourth floor, 
at <[\\ Central Park West. Harry bought a bicycle 
and rode down to the bank every morning, keeping as 
much as possible in the slot of the old Ninth Avenue 
trolley line. Three of the happiest years of their lives 
were spent in this first home, years full of promise, full 
of dreams and Harry's dreams almost always came 
true. There, in February, 1896, they had the supreme 
joy of welcoming Trubee, their first child. 

Shortly after Trubee was born, George Case, a 
staunch son of Eli who soon became Harry's closest 
friend, appeared with a bottle of champagne under his 
arm, to drink to the health of the boy and to baptize 
him irrevocably a Yale man. It had been such a disap- 
pointment to Harry not to go to college that he was 
doubly keen to assure to his boy the advantage he had 
missed. So he began at once to build a reserve fund for 
Trubee's education. For this purpose he acted as notary 
public for the bank, and every night he brought his fees 
home to Kate in twenty-five cent pieces. They counted 


them and put them aside in a cigar box. And what an 
excitement in the household when, by a stroke of luck, 
the quarters went to dollars ! 

It must be said that, in a larger sense, Harry's 
quarters, went regularly into dollars. He never had a 
serious setback. He bore the mark of success upon him, 
and most of the important financiers of the day with 
whom he was associated felt it and said so. They 
often told him that he would be heard from in the bank- 
ing world. But he did not need to be told : he was the 
first to sense it. One could not have accused him of 
undue confidence in himself. Yet he had the convic- 
tion, underneath, that he was "going to be somebody." 
The night that he came down from Bridgeport to take 
his position at the Astor Place Bank, when the train 
pulled into New York and he saw the millions of lights 
twinkling in all directions, he said, with all the naivete 
of youth, to the Bridgeport boy who sat by him: "Rob- 
bie, I am going to be a great man in that city some 


At the Astor Place Bank in l8gi Rapid promotion at the Liberty 

National Final transference to vice-presidency of the First National 

Bank Some characteristics of this institution George F. Baker s 

career and his influence on Damson s work 

CARRY'S translation from the Pequonnock National 
Bank of Bridgeport to the Astor Place Bank in 
New York City was due solely to his initiative and per- 
sistence. He well realized that the chief opportunities, 
the greatest prizes, lay hidden in the crowded city. So 
when he heard that a new bank, to be located on Astor 
Place In New York, was being organized he decided 
that that was the place for his entry Into metropolitan 
banking. This was in 1891. 

Francis Lyman Hine (ten years afterward Harry's 
senior vice-president at the First National Bank and 
later president of that institution) was one of the or- 
ganizers and was slated for vice-president in the new 
bank. So Harry called and modestly offered his serv- 
ices, to be used in any capacity the officers desired. 
Mr. Hine explained that they were overrun with ap- 
plications and that their ranks were already filled. He 
was sorry, but there was no chance. A week later, 
Harry again came down from Bridgeport to see Mr. 
Hine. This time he urged his services very strongly 
upon Mr. Hine, but again in vain. But "if you don't 
at once succeed, try, try again" was Harry's chief credo 
in those days. So after another week he presented him- 
self again, this time at Mr. Hine's home in Brooklyn. 



At this third interview, Harry explained most tact- 
fully even humorously that he did not intend to be 
turned down. He said that he needed the job, and the 
job needed him. He was so insistent, so persuasive and 
yet so inoffensive with it all that Mr. Hine made up 
his mind that this looked like a young man who would 
have an effective way of handling the bank's customers. 
This time he said yes. And that is the way it fell out 
that Harry entered the ranks of New York's bankers. 

After this final and successful interview of his that 
day, it was so late that Davison decided to stay in New 
York overnight. But he had no friends in town, and 
so he determined to celebrate his victory alone and to 
go to the theatre. He was aglow with enthusiasm and 
importance over the new job and eager to tell somebody 
about it. But there was nobody to tell. 

Arriving at the theatre, Harry eyed the two strangers 
sitting silently on either side of him and, finally select- 
ing the least forbidding of them, said abruptly to him : 
"You don't know who I am, do you?" 

"No, I don't," said the man in a tone that indicated 
he cared even less. 

"I am the assistant receiving teller of the Astor Place 
Bank," said Harry in a proud and ringing tone. 

"Uh, huh," said the stranger, and the conversation 

This was one of the many stories on himself that 
Davison used to love to tell. 

Not long after the bank was well under way and 
Davison had familiarized himself with his duties as 
paying teller, there came a day when he peered up 
through the paying teller's window to find himself sud- 
denly facing a revolver, in the hands of a wild-looking 
individual who demanded $50,000 in cash. With great 
presence of mind, Davison swept to the floor the cash 


which was on the shelf In front of him. At the same 
time he dropped behind the counter^ giving the alarm, 
which resulted In the capture of the bandit who turned 
out to be totally demented. This episode, although at 
times exaggerated, gave Davison considerable prestige 
among the officers and directors of the new bank, and 
his success there became assured. 

His change to the Liberty National Bank, a most 
Important and vital change for him, came about in 
this wise : 

In her school days at Rye, New York, Harry's wife, 
Kate, had as a roommate Mary Clarke (later the wife 
of George B. Case), the daughter of Dumont Clarke, 
president of the American Exchange National Bank. 
Through the friendship of the two girls, Davison be- 
came acquainted with Mr. Clarke. The latter, one of 
the leading bankers of the old school, had been one of 
the organizers, and a member of the board, of the 
Liberty National Bank, which began business in 1891 
at 143 Liberty Street, in the newly erected building of 
the New Jersey Central Railroad Company. Not long 
after Davison began his connection with the Astor 
Place Bank, the board of the Liberty National Bank 
found it necessary to obtain an assistant to the cashier 
of that bank, who was then in poor health. Quite by 
accident, Miss Clarke heard her father mention the 
fact that there was an excellent opportunity for a young 
man. She suggested that he consider Harry Davison. 

"Just the man! I'll bring up his name right away," 
was Mr. Clarke's response. He did so, and the mem- 
bers of the board of the Liberty National Bank elected 
Davison assistant cashier on December 6, 1894, at a 
salary of $2,500 per annum. It is interesting at this 
point to note the names of the various members of the 
board of directors of the bank. For it was with them 


that Davison really formed his first valuable acquain- 
tances with the banking and business fraternity; ac- 
quaintances which were destined to grow into warm 
friendships and to have a vast influence in shaping his 
subsequent career- 
When Davison joined the Liberty bank staff, he 
immediately became much attached to Henry W. Max- 
well, already a director of the bank and one of its vice- 
presidents. Davison 's contacts with Mr. Maxwell were 
constant, and he looked up to the elder man as a friend 
and guide in all the early steps marking the growth of 
the lusty, young institution. 

The original board of the Liberty National Bank 
was made up as follows : Henry C. Tinker, George F. 
Baker, Harris C. Fahnestock, an associate of Mr. 
Baker's at the First National Bank, J. Rogers Max- 
well, Henry Graves, Garret A. Hobart, afterwards 
Vice-President of the United States with President 
McKinley, Dumont Clarke, E. F. C. Young, William 
Runkle and John H. Starin. 

George F. Baker had long been one of the heaviest 
stockholders of the Liberty, having been associated in 
the ownership originally with Henry Graves, J. R. 
Maxwell of the Atlas Portland Cement Company, and 
Commodore J. G. Bourne of the Singer Sewing Ma- 
chine Company. Other large stockholders who came 
into the bank a little later were Daniel G. "Reid, the 
associate of the Moore brothers in American Tin Plate 
and Rock Island, American Can, etc. ; and Edmund 
Cogswell Converse. 

It was at the Liberty that Davison had his first 
chance to show his real talents, his preeminent gifts as a 
banker, his caution and yet his courage, his uncanny 
gift for handling men. Even though his initial office in 
the bank was of minor importance, he had not been in 


the bank a twelvemonth before the directors recognized 
him as a leader and as an impelling force in the institu- 
tion. On July 23, 1895, Davison had been elected 
cashier at a salary of $4,000, and on January 9, 1900, 
he was elected vice-president at a salary of $10,000; he 
became president on May 16, 1901. 

Davison had not been president of the Liberty long, 
before he decided that that institution should move 
from the corner of Liberty and West Streets, down 
among the ferry-houses and noisy trucks, up into the 
more congenial atmosphere and larger business of 
Broadway. Plans were worked out, in 1902, to move 
the bank to a new home, to be built for it by the 
Washington Life Insurance ompany, at 139 Broadway. 
But Davison was not destined, as an officer, to accom- 
pany the bank to the new location ; for before the new 
building was well under way he had been elected a 
vice-president of the First National Bank. 

Davison took up his duties as vice-president of the 
First National in 1902, after George F. Baker had for 
several years been observing his work. The First 
National was and is one of the great banking institu- 
tions of the world. The Liberty National Bank, where 
Davison had soundly established his career as a banker, 
was in a way a child of the First National; to the 
extent, at any rate, that it was founded by close friends 
of the First and that Mr. Baker and several of his 
associates were very considerable stockholders in it. 
On this account Davison had been accustomed to con- 
sult Mr. Baker on important matters which came up 
affecting the Liberty. Mr. Baker was so impressed 
with his energy and good sense that finally one day he 
said: "Davison, I think you'd better move your desk 
up here with us." 

So Davison, leaving behind his old friend Edmund 


C. Converse to take over the presidency of the Liberty, 
was translated to the First This change from a presi- 
dency to a vice-presidency was not a step down ; it was 
a promotion, because of the importance of the First 
National in the banking world and because of the close 
association which it meant with Mr. Baker. 

The First National Bank of New York had been 
founded in 1863 by two brothers, John and Frederick 
Thompson, with whom Mr. Baker had been in associ- 
ation at Jay Cooke & Co. Mr. Baker was in years 
junior to them both, but in energy and foresight he 
was their senior. He became cashier of the new in- 
stitution which almost immediately sprang into prom- 
inence among the New York banks. 

This, then, was the institution where Davison really 
started the second and larger phase of his banking 
career ; where he emerged from a limited into a large 
and important banking world. Nobody could ever 
imagine more congenial surroundings than he found 
here in the First National Bank family. The atmos- 
phere was not that of an ordinary banking institution. 
It was more like an incorporated partnership. It was, 
in fact, just what I have described it a small but happy 
family with Mr. Baker as the head of it, extraordi- 
narily conversant with the workings of the bank and 
with all the things that the other members of his bank- 
ing family were trying to accomplish. Mr. Baker al- 
ways felt that it was a proper and legitimate thing for 
the officers of his bank to try to acquire independence 
and fortune, and to that end he encouraged them by 
friendly counsel and opportunity. But not through 
speculation. I have no absolute knowledge, but I am 
convinced that Mr. Baker never in all his long life sold 
"short" a single share of stock. Legitimate as short 
selling is for the stock market speculator, Mr. Baker 



was always on the "long" or constructive side of things. 
He was a student of values, bought good securities 
when their market prices were below what he con- 
sidered their Intrinsic or potential values and then 
held on to them "till the cows came home." At any 
rate, the pursuit of his policies, coupled with sound 
banking methods, had yielded total earnings for the 
bank, from its foundation In 1863 through 1930, in- 
cluding earnings of the First Security Company, $313,- 
154,096.42, with dividend disbursements of $187,010,- 
ooo.oo. For over two generations Mr. Baker was 
looked upon as the dean of institutional bankers in 
America, and he and his associates earned for the in- 
stitution Its reputation of being the soundest national 
bank In the country. 

One notable policy of Mr. Baker's, and, therefore, of 
the First National Bank, was always to support the 
Government to the limit in its important fiscal policies. 
Thus when, under Secretary of the Treasury John 
Sherman, the Government resumed specie payments 
in 1877, ^e First National became such a strong bul- 
wark of defense for sound money policies and was so 
cooperative that the institution became popularly 
known as "Fort Sherman." Then upon the organiza- 
tion of the Federal Reserve System in 1914, Mr. 
Baker's bank was one of the earliest to join the System. 
He was one of the first to appreciate the value of the 
System's facilities and to utilize them; he was always 
one of its strongest supporters. 

When, in 1917, the United States declared war 
against Germany, and the Treasury at Washington was 
compelled to undertake those gigantic loan operations 
to finance the War, Mr. Baker not only became one of 
the most active members of the Liberty Loan Commit- 
tee, but his bank was always foremost in subscription 


to the United States Treasury loans. The bank's total 
subscriptions to United States Government bonds and 
certificates from April i, 1917, to the same date in 
1927, ten years later, was $3,867,115,900. 

From the foregoing, one might gather the impres- 
sion that this chapter has to do with George F. Baker 
rather than with Harry Davison. But Davison's friends 
realize the great part which the First National Bank 
and its sane policies, with Mr. Baker's wisdom and 
courage, played in that formative period of Davison's 
life the stabilizing influence which Mr. Baker's quali- 
ties had upon Davison's impulsive and optimistic tem- 
perament. By nature and disposition Davison would 
always take a broad and serene outlook on life. It 
remained for him to see such breadth of vision exem- 
plified and put into practice on a great scale, day by 
day, by a man of Mr. Baker's experience. 

It was this same attitude that early made Mr. Baker 
the friend and close coadjutor of the late Mr. Morgan. 
No man knew better than Mr. Morgan that, in Mr. 
Baker, he could always find those qualities of soundness 
and foresight in the untroubled days of the country's 
financial progress, and of courage and support in time 
of difficulty. 

In Davison's career at the First National, he per- 
formed three outstanding pieces of work, in addition 
to a singularly happy and effective disposition of his 
routine duties at the bank. These three matters were, 
in their order: his organization of the Bankers Trust 
Company, the part he played in the money panic of 
1907, and his work as an adviser to the National Mone- 
tary Commission which, under the chairmanship of 
Senator Nelson W. Aldrich, visited the leading capitals 
of Europe in the summer of 1908. 



Genesis of Davison's idea Building a bank for bankers Personality 
of E. C. Converse and other associates The institutions early years 
Benjamin Strong joins the official staff His aims and achieve- 
ments Permanent record of Damson s work for the Company 

HARRY DAVISON had for the Bankers Trust Com- 
pany a feeling that was almost a passion. This% 
trust company was his creation his child. He con- 
ceived the idea of it; he brought it into being; he 
cherished and nurtured it; finally, he built it up to be- 
come a bulwark and force in the community of Amer- 
ican banking. 

The organization of the Bankers Trust Company was 
clearly the most brilliant of Davison's purely banking 
achievements. It brought him, deservedly, much 
prestige, greatly increased influence and usefulness. 
The plan was made and carried out during the early 
years of his vice-presidency at the First National Bank 
of New York. He had risen in seven years from the 
assistant-cashiership to the presidency of the Liberty 
National Bank, as recounted in the preceding chapter, 
and had been president only a few months, when 
George F. Baker had called him, in 1902, to the First 
National Bank as a vice-president and a director. 

Davison's sense of obligation was such that he had 
felt free to leave the Liberty National only after he had 
arranged to install a suitable president in his place. 



E. C. Converse, Davison's elder by a generation, had 
early taken an immense fancy to the brilliant, magnetic, 
young president of the Liberty National. Mr. Con- 
verse, himself, had had a striking and successful career. 
Starting at the bottom of the ladder in his father's steel 
tube works at McKeesport, Pennsylvania, he rose rap- 
idly, by dint solely of his own abilities as a manufac- 
turer; and when the United States Steel Corporation 
was formed in 1901, the National Tube Company, of 
which Mr. Converse was the heaviest shareholder, be- 
came an important part of the combination, Mr. Con- 
verse becoming a director and member of the Steel 
Corporation's executive committee. 

The steel mergers greatly increased Mr. Converse's 
personal fortune. Prior to this time, he had taken up 
his business headquarters in New York City. He had 
brought to New York ample capital, great shrewdness 
and energy, and a very attractive personality. Davi- 
son's invitation to him, to become an active director 
of the Liberty National, gave to Mr. Converse the con- 
nection that was desirable for him. It gave both to him 
and to Harry Davison a friendship that was touching, 
remarkable, and enduring to the end of their lives, 
which fell within the same twelvemonth. 

Harry learned early to call Mr. Converse "Pop." 
Mr. Converse welcomed the affectionate title, and he 
loved Harry with a devotion filled with admiration. 
Harry, who was amused, entertained, and made glad 
by Mr. Converse's quaint humor and singular business 
acumen, could "handle" him as no other man ever had, 
or ever could. He was one of Converse's "boys", and 
there was nothing in this world the elder man would 
not have done for Harry. They were associated in 
many important enterprises, and each always felt, and 
was always telling, how wonderful and how helpful 


the other had been to him. For the twenty-odd years 
that they knew each other, Davison and Converse, 
whether In constant contact or not, marched blithely 
together. Theirs was a sentimental journey a romance 
of modern business. A hundred times, Harry told his 
friends about the share, which Mr. Converse had gen- 
erously turned over to him out of his own participation, 
In the underwriting of the United States Steel Corpora- 
tion at the time of its organization. The results of this 
operation had helped Harry found his then very modest 

Mr. Converse was fond of almost all outdoor sports 
and was especially skilful at golf, in which Harry was 
by no means equally proficient. Each year, the two 
had great fun out of their annual golf match. They 
had two prizes, first and second. Harry always got 
second prize. 

With all his growing appreciation of Mr. Converse's 
business abilities, Davison naturally turned to him as 
the leading man for the Liberty. And, when Davison 
was called to the vice-presidency of the First National, 
he arranged that Converse should succeed him as presi- 
dent of the Liberty not as the active manager, but yet 
as the responsible head of the bank. Davison, himself, 
retained the Important post of chairman of the execu- 
tive committee of the Liberty. So, too, early in 1903, 
when Davison organized the Bankers Trust Company 
and found no man immediately available as active 
president of it, he invited Mr. Converse to take the 
presidency which he retained for eleven years, until 
January, 1914. 

Now, when Davison first sat down at his new desk 
at the First National and saw the new home of the 
Liberty National almost across the way, he could not 
forget that the Liberty was leaving vacant, though 


still responsible for the lease, a good banking room and 
safe-deposit vault down on the river front. That vacant 
lease impressed Davison as a quite unnecessary burden 
to the Liberty. Why not get a new tenant for it? 
But it must have a bank for a tenant. Well, then, why 
not organize a new banking institution? No sooner 
said than done! For Davison was the quickest man 
one ever knew to act on an idea, be it his own or some- 
body else's. His frequent expression, when a friend 
gave him a new idea, was: "Why, that's an inspira- 
tion! 3 ' 

For months, as a matter of fact, Davison had been 
discussing with other bankers of his own age (the early 
and middle thirties) the idea of organizing a trust com- 
pany that they, young bankers themselves, would own 
and direct business to. In those days the banks could 
not lawfully carry on a trust business, and as they were 
constantly in the position of advising customers to take 
their trust accounts and other fiduciary business to 
the old-line trust companies, it was natural for these 
young bankers to suggest to themselves that they or- 
ganize a trust company in which they themselves should 
be the chief stockholders. But it was Davison's original 
idea, of getting a solvent tenant for the Liberty's vacant 
quarters on the lower West Side, that crystallized the 
thought of this younger set of bankers, and led them, 
with Davison always as the moving spirit, to organize 
the Bankers Trust Company. 

The men with whom Davison had been discussing 
this idea were: William H. Porter, vice-president of 
the Chemical National Bank; Albert H. Wiggin, vice- 
president of the National Park Bank; Gates W. Mc- 
Garrah, president of the Leather Manufacturers' 
National Bank; Granville W. Garth, president of the 
Mechanics' National Bank; and Daniel G. Reid, the 


capitalist, who was active in the affairs of the Liberty ; 
these in addition, of course, to Mr. Converse; and to 
George W. Perkins, of J. P. Morgan & Co., who sub- 
scribed to a substantial block of the company's stock 
but was never active in its affairs. This initial group 
decided to enlarge the circle. They broached the idea 
to others and it found ready, nay eager, acceptance. 
The first plan of limiting the capital to $500,000 had 
to be enlarged in order to create anything like enough 
stock to go round. 

To make a long story short, the Bankers Trust Com- 
pany was organized and launched on March 30, 1903, 
with a directorate including the men named above and 
thirteen others, all active and well-known in the Amer- 
ican banking world. 

The very small official staff had E. C. Converse as 
president; John F. Thompson, up to that time cashier 
of the Seaboard National Bank, as vice-president in 
charge ; Thomas W. Lamont as secretary and treasurer ; 
Daniel E. Pomeroy as assistant treasurer; and Leo H. 
McCall as assistant secretary. The chapter on Davi- 
son's boyhood days at Troy explains that Pomeroy was 
a cousin of Harry Davison's on both his father's and his 
mother's side, and that, as lads together, they went 
away to boarding school at Greylock Institute. When 
Harry left his job at Pomeroy Brothers' Bank at Troy, 
in order to seek his fortune, Pomeroy took his old desk 
there. Then, after Harry had made his way in the 
great world and had become the active head of the 
Liberty National Bank, which had need for a capable 
loan clerk, Davison brought Pomeroy on for that billet, 
which he filled with excellent ability. Counsel to the 
company were White & Case, George B. Case of that 
law firm being Davison's especially close friend and 


Business started, as arranged, in the old offices of the 
Liberty National Bank at 143 Liberty St., and the 
shares of the company were so popular that on the day 
they were issued they sold at $300 per share, just double 
the subscription price. The success of the institution 
may in part be indicated by these figures : on Decem- 
ber 31, 1931, an original shareholder would have bene- 
fited by an appreciation of $1,442. over the $150. paid 
for his share, including the amounts realized from the 
sale of rights received during the interval ; and by divi- 
dends which, meanwhile, were going on uninter- 

Davison did not always spell it out in words, but 
what he wanted to realize for the Bankers Trust Com- 
pany was an institution which, if it could have been 
personified, would be such a man as Davison proved 
himself to be throughout his life : active, fine, imagina- 
tive, cautious, yet full of courage always looking the 
worst in the eye and daring any course that seemed 
constructive and helpful. That was the sort of in- 
stitution which Davison longed that this offspring, the 
Bankers Trust Company, should become. That was 
the sort of institution which, under his leadership, it 
came to be. To help the Bankers Trust realize this 
ideal, Davison gave of himself unstintedly. He was 
always, as chairman of the executive committee, avail- 
able for counsel by the active officers, and the elder 
Mr. Baker often said with a tolerant smile that he 
didn't know whether Davison was working first for 
the First National Bank or for the Bankers Trust 

But aside from his daily attention that he bestowed 
on the company, Davison, for almost ten consecutive 
years, gave up one whole evening a week to the affairs 
of the company. Almost all the members of the ex- 


eoitlve committee were active young bank officers like 
himself. So Davison proposed that, in order to give 
proper and thorough attention to the affairs of this 
lusty young banking Infant of theirs, they meet uptown 
for dinner every Thursday at 6 130 o'clock, and devote 
the evening to the reports and work of the company. 
Thus, rain or shine, winter and summer, Davison and 
the other devoted members of that executive com- 
mittee met and worked with the officers, reviewing 
what had been done and planning out the institution's 
future growth. 

Davison, both at the time and in later years, often 
talked of the great importance that these meetings came 
to have, not only in the fostering of the Bankers Trust 
Company, but in developing the spirit of cooperation 
which the meetings inspired among the active, young 
leaders of the banking community. These men, them- 
selves, before these dinner meetings had been under 
way for a twelvemonth, began to see their significance 
and the potentialities which they held for the benefit 
of the community. Many a critical situation in the 
commercial or banking world, which might otherwise 
have been precipitated on the public, was resolved by 
the foreknowledge possessed by one or another of this 
group, Imparted confidentially In turn to all the others, 
and by the speedy remedies of cooperation and salvage 
then and there determined upon. It was largely be- 
cause of the spirit of friendly cooperation and of per- 
sonal intimacy, built up at these dinner meetings, that 
Davison was enabled, when the 1907 money panic 
broke out, to count upon the instant and unanimous 
help of this group for the work which he was deputed 
to lead, in the banking efforts to stay the storm. 

Of course, these weekly dinners were an extraor- 
dinary inspiration and spur to the officers of the com- 


pany. The companionship of Davison and his fellow 
directors was in itself delightful, and their experience 
and counsel were of inestimable value. One director 
would naturally spur on the other, and the extraordi- 
nary rapidity with which the Bankers Trust Company 
was built up in the first five years of Its existence, from 
1903 to 1908, was due not so much to the energy of its 
officers, who naturally gained much credit for it, but 
to the wonderful spirit and cooperation of the directors. 
And of these directors, as I say, Harry Davison was 
the foremost and the chief. He loved to talk of the 
Bankers Trust Company, he loved to work for it. It 
was the idol of his early manhood. It was the solace 
of his riper years. To the end it was in his daily 

As an illustration of the quickness with which Davi- 
son's mind worked, and of the intuitive decisions he 
seemed to make, perhaps I may be permitted to repeat 
George Case's story of how Davison chose me to be- 
come an officer of the Bankers Trust Company which 
he was organizing. Case says that Davison and he 
were returning to Englewood on one of those Northern 
Railroad of New Jersey suburban trains that amble 
slowly across the Hackensack Meadows, about ten 
o'clock in the evening after all well-regulated com- 
muters have long been safely in the bosoms of their 
families. Davison and Case had been staying in town 
for dinner with the other men interested in the organi- 
zation of the Bankers Trust Company, and they had 
been discussing this very question of executive officers. 
I, too, as It so happened, had been kept in town and 
was going home that evening on the same train. Case 
says that Davison had just been saying: "We have 
enough banking talent for our official staff, but where 
in the world can we get that plain business man that 


we want?" Just then I came strolling up the aisle. 
Davison gave Case a poke. "There's the man!" he 
said, and next morning he sent for me to make the 

"I believe/ 5 said he to me, "that you are the man 
for our secretary and treasurer. n 

"But," I responded, "I don't know the first thing 
about banking. All my brief business life I have been 
borrowing money not lending it" 

"Fine!" retorted Davison, "that's just why we want 
you. A fearless borrower like you ought to make a 
prudent lender." 

Davison was also the one who chose Benjamin Strong 
for the Bankers Trust Company. Strong, too, had been 
an Englewood neighbor. It was there that Davison 
and he first met in connection, as it happened, with 
the operation of the Englewood Hospital. Strong had 
worked in the banking firm of Cuyler, Morgan & Co. 
and from there had gone to the secretaryship of the 
Atlantic Trust Company. Upon the merger of that in- 
stitution with the Metropolitan Trust Company, Strong 
had become secretary of the enlarged institution. None 
of the other directors of the Bankers Trust Company 
knew much of Strong but, as usual, Davison's idea was 
enough for them; and so on April 4, 1904, Benjamin 
Strong came into the company's official family. Al- 
though his progress was rapid and steady, he had com- 
paratively little chance to come under the attention of 
the elder statesmen in banking until the time of the 
panic of 1907. We shall tell something of that, and 
of the part that Davison played in it, in a later chapter 
of this volume. But it may be proper to tell here 
something of Strong's work, and of how it bore on his 
later advancement. 

In this later chapter, it will be explained how, early 


In the run on the Trust Company of America and on 
the Lincoln Trust Company, in the autumn of 1907, 
the elder J. P. Morgan decided, with George F. Baker 
and James Stillman, that these institutions must, if 
solvent, be saved. And Davison had, as related, chosen 
Benjamin Strong to act as the head of a small com- 
mittee whose work was to pass with accuracy and 
speed upon the value of the collateral securities which 
the two trust companies under fire were depositing, to 
secure the advances being made to them by the bank- 
ing community under Mr. Morgan's leadership. Dur- 
ing the rest of the panic, Strong spent a good part of 
his waking time at the offices of J. P. Morgan & Co. 
The bundles of collateral demand loans, time loans, 
bills payable, syndicate loans, mortgages, and what not 
all came tumbling in upon his desk. He had a sure 
eye and a strong flail, in separating the wheat from 
the chaff. He performed an extraordinarily valuable 

From that time, Benjamin Strong was a marked man. 
When I succeeded Davison as a vice-president of the 
First National Bank in, 1909, Strong became vice- 
president of the Bankers Trust Company, and was for 
five years the ranking executive officer under E, C. 
Converse, whom, in 1914, he succeeded as president. 
In the important conferences held in 1912 and 1913, 
by bankers and others who were cooperating with Con- 
gress in the reform of the country's banking system, 
Strong took an active part He was a deep student of 
banking systems and problems the world over. With 
due respect for all the others, Davison believed that 
Paul M. Warburg and Strong were the most advanced 
students of these questions that the country had to 
furnish. Therefore, he was pleased as was the finan- 
cial community generally when, in 1914, the year the 


Federal Reserve System came into operation under the 
unforeseen stress of the Great War, Paul Warburg was 
chosen as vice-governor of the Federal Reserve Board 
at Washington and Benjamin Strong was persuaded 
to undertake the organization and the governorship of 
the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. 

The change meant heavy financial sacrifice for 
Strong; it meant too, that he had to take up work in 
an untried field. But the Strong whom in 1905 Davi- 
son, with his unvarying acumen for choosing useful 
men for important and waiting jobs, picked out for the 
Bankers Trust Company, was prepared for his new 
task. The organization and practices of the Federal 
Reserve Bank of New York, as established by Strong, 
have become the model and this implies no deroga- 
tion, whatsoever, of the personnel of the others for the 
Reserve Banks generally. And we frequently hear it 
stated by the other Reserve Bank heads that Strong was 
the man who, during the stress of the War days and of 
the almost equally difficult reconstruction period, 
showed most clearly just how the Reserve Banks could 
function, in order to become, as they verily did, a bul- 
wark of strength for all the country's industrial and 
commercial life. 

It may not be amiss to set down here a few figures, 
just to show the importance and primacy of the work- 
ings of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The 
Bank opened its doors for business on November 16, 
1914, with a paid-in capital of $3,321,950; on Decem- 
ber 31, 1928, shortly after Benjamin Strong's death, 
its capital was $50,123,950, surplus $71,281,905, de- 
posits $988,776,865, reserves $738,738,422, chiefly gold 
against notes issued. These figures give some little idea 
of the material growth of the institution during the 
fourteen years of Benjamin Strong's administration. 


This brief sketch of the Bankers Trust Company, in 
which I have spoken also of the genius and work of 
the late Benjamin Strong at the Federal Reserve Bank 
of New York, would be lacking if I failed to mention 
three of the moves, brought about under Davison's 
initiative, that were important in enlarging the in- 
stitution's resources and scope. These were its absorp- 
tion, respectively, of the Mercantile Trust Company on 
August 9, 1911, the Manhattan Trust Company on 
March 23, 1912, and the Astor Trust Company (this 
.last a natural and inevitable move) on April 23, 1917. 

The Mercantile Trust Company, located in the old 
Equitable Building, was popularly supposed to be 
under the influence of the Gould interests. It had an 
excellent business in corporate trusts and a highly re- 
spectable and solvent board of directors ; but its man- 
agement was somewhat lacking in the initiative and 
energy which the Bankers Trust people had been show- 
ing. At the time of the merger the Mercantile's capital, 
surplus, and undivided profits aggregated about $8,- 
500,000 and its deposits were $66,000,000. 

Another move by the rapidly growing Bankers Trust 
Company was its absorption, early in 1912, of the Man- 
hattan Trust Company. This arrangement, although 
a natural development, was chiefly the result of propin- 
quity. When the Bankers Trust Company purchased 
the fee of the land at the corner of Wall and Nassau 
Streets for its new building and home, it was able to 
do so only subject to a long lease which the Manhattan 
Trust Company had on that very corner. At first the 
plan was for the Manhattan to continue its separate 
existence, with quarters in the new building of its 
powerful rival. But before the building was com- 
pleted and dedicated, in the spring of 1912, there was 
a sort of spontaneous combustion of thought on both 


sides, and It was recognized that It would be better 
business all around to join the Manhattan and the 
Bankers. The business of the two companies was of 
a like nature, and they had many common interests. 
The question of personnel was not difficult. The head 
of the Manhattan was John I. Waterbury, who had 
succeeded Francis O. French some fifteen or twenty 
years before. Mr. Waterbury had been active with his 
friend, George F. Baker, in the affairs of the great 
American Telephone & Telegraph Company. On the 
board of directors were Mr. Baker himself and some 
close friends of his and Mr. Waterbury's men like 
James J. Hill, Grant B. Schley, W. V. S. Thorne, 
Walter P. Bliss, H. W. Cannon, John Kean, and John 
J. Mitchell of Chicago. As a matter of fact, Mr. Baker 
was the one who most strongly urged the combination. 

Lastly came the Astor, which from the start had 
been the adopted child, or rather ward, of the Bankers. 
This family figure is a little confusing at times ! But 
at any rate Davison had been the leader in transform- 
ing the Astor National Bank into the Astor Trust Com- 
pany, as explained in the following chapter. He had 
taken the same active interest in the affairs of the Astor 
as in those of the Bankers. He was the intimate per- 
sonal friend of the Astor's officers. Hence an amal- 
gamation had been almost sure to come some time. 
It had seemed certain to result in economies. To this 
marriage the Astor brought, as her modest dowry, 
$2,800,000 of capital assets and $39,000,000 of de- 

So Davison lived to see that little institution of the 
Bankers Trust Company, that had started down in 
the Jersey Central building on West Street, with an 
active official staff of four persons and a clerical staff 
of only a half dozen, become one of the greatest Insti- 


tutions of the country, with total resources of $391,- 
882,462.57 as of June 30, 1922, and with a record of 
having disbursed in dividends to its fortunate stock- 
holders a total of almost $37,000,000. The stately 
pinnacle of the Bankers Trust Building, soaring into 
the sky above its twenty-five stories, is almost an exact 
replica of the beautiful, classic tomb at Halicarnassus. 
But the building, with all that it stands for in sound 
banking and business, is a monument to Henry P. 
Davison. When the building was erected ten years 
before his death, the directors, desiring to record a 
word or two of their conviction, inscribed this on the 
stone tablet that adorns the wall of the president's 
room : 








And again, after his death, at the foot of the niche 
which holds his bust, we read : 








MAY 6, 1922. 


A move to develop uptown business Linking of the Astor National 

Bank with the Bankers Trust Company group Damson's unique 

methods in choosing officials for the new institution 

THE formation of the Astor Trust Company early 
in 1907 (afterwards, on April 23, 1917, merged 
with the Bankers Trust Company) was a second bank- 
ing move that was a logical sequence of that associa- 
tion of young bankers that began with the organization 
of the Bankers Trust Company. That institution was 
only three years old it was founded in 1903 when 
its sponsors, looking towards the future, began talking 
of the advisability of organizing an uptown branch. 
Albert Wiggin especially urged the growing impor- 
tance of the uptown district as a field for legitimate 
trust business although, as he pointed out, any branch 
established uptown would undoubtedly be obliged to 
enter the commercial field. This point led the Bankers 
Trust Company directors to hesitate because, many 
of them being active executive officers of commercial 
banks to which they owed their first allegiance, they 
naturally were slow to encourage the Bankers Trust 
Company to invade their own field. 

Just as the subject was being debated back and forth, 
Davison, who had been consulting George F. Baker, 
without whose advice he never undertook any im- 
portant banking step, reported an interesting sugges- 
tion from Mr. Baker. This was to the effect that he 



and the other chief owners of the Astor National Bank, 
which was located on 34th Street, just west of Fifth 
Avenue, might be willing to consider a sale of their 
stock, to be paid for in large part or in whole with the 
shares of a new trust company to be formed by the 
Bankers Trust group. Mr. Baker further suggested 
that the new company take over, with the business of 
the Astor Bank, also its name, which represented a very 
considerable good will ; not only because it implied the 
solidity and backing of an old New York family which 
for some generations had enjoyed a reputation for 
solvency, but because the bank had a goodly clientage 
accustomed to the name. 

So the Astor Trust Company was organized, and 
on March 18, 1907, it opened its doors for business at 
Fifth Avenue and 36th Street 

Among the leading shareholders of the Astor Na- 
tional Bank were Mr. Baker; Charles A. Peabody, the 
family lawyer and estate adviser of the Astor family for 
years, who had a year or two before accepted the 
presidency of the Mutual Life Insurance Company; 
Colonel John Jacob Astor, whose son, Vincent Astor, 
later took his place on the board; and Alexander H. 
Stevens, who had been vice-president in charge of the 
Astor National, a man already advanced in years and 
ripeness of experience. 

The directorate of the Astor Trust Company was 
first made up largely of the members of the executive 
committee of the Bankers Trust Company board. The 
idea was that, constituting also the executive committee 
of the Astor, they would economize time by sitting in 
joint session for the two companies. Supplementing 
this group and those whom I have mentioned, the fol- 
lowing took seats on the board of the new company: 
Stephen Baker, president of the Bank of the Manhattan 


Company, George B. Case, of the law firm of White & 
Case, Thomas Cochran and Seward Prosser, vice-presi- 
dents of the new company, John I. Downey, Harrison 
E. Gawtry, Robert Walton Goelet, Adrian Iselin, Jr., 
Roy H. Ralney, Douglas Robinson and Archibald D. 

For the new Astor Trust Company, the banking 
rooms at 36th Street were so limited that It was plainly 
Inevitable that at some time in the future, if the com- 
pany grew, additional quarters would have to be pro- 
vided. But for the time being, It was agreed that the 
old, brownstone front, outwardly still a dwelling but 
Inside a modern bank, would serve the purpose; al- 
though at the board meetings held In the beautiful 
ballroom of this old-time Lorillard mansion looking out 
on 36th Street, we sometimes used to wonder what the 
shades of those bustled dancers of the Age of Innocence 
were thinking, as they peered in upon this aggregation 
of twentieth-century business men. 

The heads of the executive staff of the new Astor 
Trust Company were full of energy, and they had every 
quality of kindness, directness, and cautious judgment 
that went with their energy. We called them from 
the start "The Astor Twins." They were born into a 
vice-presidency at one and the same moment. These 
men were Erastus Seward Prosser and Thomas Coch- 
ran. Their choice as joint managers of the Astor is 
another apt illustration of Harry Davison's method of 
thought and execution. 

First, as to Prosser: Davison had for several years 
been attracted by his personality and hfs ways. They 
had become acquainted as residents of Englewood. 
Then one day Seward Prosser dropped down at Harry's 
vice-presidential desk at the First National and kindly 
offered to write some insurance on his life, in behalf 


of the Equitable Life, of which Prosser was already 
one of the leading metropolitan agents. Now Davison 
thought he had all the life insurance that he wanted 
or could carry; but Prosser knew otherwise. After a 
comparatively brief talk, Harry woke up to the fact 
that he was wrong and Seward was right. This was 
an eye-opener for the active, young vice-president of 
the First National. He had had an idea that his own 
judgment as to insurance on his own life was to be 
relied upon; but he found that Prosser's judgment on 
that score was much better than his. And Prosser had 
effected the sale so jocosely and delightfully that he 
left Davison with the happy impression that he was a 
better and healthier and wiser man than ever before. 
From that time Prosser was in Davison's keen mind 
a marked man. 

As soon as Davison had attached a man to any 
enterprise in which he was interested, he made a friend 
of that man, and was apt, as well, to utilize his capaci- 
ties in directions of public or semi-public service. In 
his war management of the American Red Cross, Davi- 
son very notably exhibited this canny trait of his, and 
frequently we had evidence of it in other ways. For 
example, in 1903 Davison undertook the presidency 
of the Englewood Hospital, the leading charity of that 
New Jersey town. Its plant and equipment had fallen 
far behind its needs, and Davison was the one man in 
all Englewood to give it the big push it needed. Ever 
since its foundation the hospital had been run on a 
small scale. Davison now determined to put it in a 
way to render the community a much greater service. 
He decided that much heavier support should come to 
the hospital from the community at large, and the 
best practical plan presented for raising money was to 


set all the Northern Valley agog with a circus, con- 
ducted chiefly by local stars. 

Without a moment's hesitation, Davison asked Vice- 
President Prosser of the Astor to undertake the entire 
management of the circus. If was, to tell the truth, 
a heavy task of organization, with a thousand and one 
annoying details to look after, a score of committees 
to appoint and keep going, and above all, the necessity 
of maintaining a sort of serio-comic leadership that 
would capture all sorts of helpers from all sorts of 
quarters. Prosser carried through the whole affair 
wonderfully. It was an Immense success and for the 
time being the hospital was put on "easy street. 53 Of 
course, a privately endowed hospital never stays long 
in such a state of financial comfort. And Davison 
had to keep at the work all the time. But when, in 
1909, he left Englewood permanently, In order to make 
his home on Long Island, he had brought the hospital 
up to a high state of efficiency, and at the end he 
cleared off all its floating debt with a substantial per- 
sonal donation. 

Apparently, the quality about Seward Prosser that 
most appealed to Harry Davison was a generosity of 
heart, a mind swept clean with a fine, wholesome breeze 
of candor and common sense. Seward Prosser, Harry 
knew, was never petty in anything he thought or under- 
took. It was that breadth of outlook that attracted 
Davison that and a singular loyalty; for Seward 
would cheerfully have gone to the stake for Harry. 

It is perhaps worth noting that thirteen years later, 
after Davison's death, when a new and much greater 
hospital campaign had to be undertaken in Englewood, 
Seward Prosser was the active head of it. It was, of 
course, an extraordinary success, the total of the fund 
exceeding the highest estimates; and of the $800,000 


pledged for a new hospital, the sum of $230,000 was 
given by Harry Davison's old friends and neighbors to 
erect the new main-building in his memory. Thirteen 
years had passed away since Davison had moved from 
Englewood in the autumn of 1909, but there, among 
his old townsfolk, his memory remained and still re- 
mains warm and vivid. 

The selection of Thomas Cochran, as a vice-president 
and joint-manager of the Astor Trust Company, came 
about in this way. One noon, some weeks prior to the 
organization of the company, Harry Davison asked 
Albert Wiggin, Gates McGarrah, and me to lunch with 
him at the Lawyers' Club, then located in the old Equi- 
table Building (which was destroyed by fire in 1912). 
Davison proposed and urged the selection of Seward 
Prosser as executive head of the new Astor. 

"He doesn't know anything about banking," said 
Davison, "but then, Tom," turning to me, "neither did 
you when you entered the Bankers Trust, and yet you 
still hold a job." After discussing the matter back 
and forth we were all agreed that Prosser would fill 
the bill. 

"But," I added, "I must say I have a hankering for 
George Case's friend, Tom Cochran. He has a certain 
quality that the Astor will need. I wish it had been 
possible to use him." 

Quick as a flash, Davison turned his eyes upon me. 
"I think you're right, Tom," he said, "we'll have them 
both, and we'll call them the 'Astor Twins.' " 

That was a first-rate example of the way Harry 
Davison's mind worked. It never would have occurred 
to the rest of us to suggest, for a corporation, a joint 
leadership equal in official rank and salary. But Davi- 
son's intuition touched just the right point The com- 
bination of Prosser and Cochran proved most happy. 


Each complemented and served the other. Each ad- 
mired his fellow. Not the slightest tinge of jealousy 
or unfriendly rivalry ever colored their relations and 
their long, intimate friendship. 

In February, 1912, Prosser was drafted from the 
Astor to come downtown and head the Liberty Na- 
tional. This was upon the death of Frederick B. 
Schenck, who had succeeded Mr. Converse as head of 
the Liberty on January 8, 1907, an overnight arrange- 
ment which gave Mr. Schenck (then president of the 
Mercantile National Bank), the chance which he ar- 
dently desired. Prosser, after again proving his ca- 
pacity as head of the Liberty, was, in October, 1914, 
drafted into still larger fields as chief executive of the 
Bankers Trust Company, whose senior officer he is 
today. Cochran in turn succeeded Prosser as president 
of the Liberty National, on October 6, 1914. So ex- 
cellent was his work there, so sure his touch, that, in 
1915, he was invited to become a member of J. P. 
Morgan & Co. 


Warning signs of trouble Outbreak of runs by depositors Failure 
of Knickerbocker Trust Company Efforts to save institutions under 
fi re The vivid story as told by Benjamin Strong Tennessee Coal 
and Iron Company crisis The final all-night session at the Morgan 
Library Saving of the situation 

A LTHOUGH there had been many danger signals fly- 
jf\. ing, the terrific money panic of 1907 came as a 
storm which the country as a whole was unprepared 
to meet. Students of our archaic banking and currency 
system had continued to point out how serious its de- 
fects might prove in the event of any great or sudden 
money strain. But to the public all such discussion 
seemed then to be academic, and its sponsors were pooh- 
poohed as alarmists. Demagogues have been inclined 
to attribute the whole trouble of that time to the wiles 
of crafty men, working in their own interests. But 
even the most casual study of world history, through 
the few years preceding the currency collapse, will 
show the gradual piling up of events bearing down 
heavily upon the world's economy. 

To go back somewhat, it will be recalled that the 
year 1903 had been a period of declining values. From 
that slough the country's industry and business gradu- 
ally emerged until, in both commodities and securities, 
speculation in 1905 and 1906 had assumed serious pro- 
portions proportions too great for the money markets 
to cope with. There had been a considerable exhaus- 



tion of capital and much disturbance on the world's 
money markets as a result of the costly Japanese-Rus- 
sian War, the settlement of which (at the Treaty of 
Portsmouth) was satisfactory to neither party to the 
conflict Then, with dire effect, came the San Fran- 
cisco earthquake and fire of April, 1906. The drain 
caused by the fire upon many Insurance companies, 
and then upon the banking community, perceptibly 
tightened the money market. Rates through the sum- 
mer and early autumn of 1907 on the New York call 
money market ranged through wide fluctuations such 
as these : 


June Ij4%- I2 % 

July , .2 "- 16 " 

August i#"- 6 " 

September I "- 6*/ 2 " 

Even with all this there was uneasiness but not alarm. 
"Business as usual" and active operations for the rise 
on the stock exchanges were still the rule. 

The storm was precipitated by what at first seemed 
to be an unimportant occurrence. But, just as the leg- 
endary cow kicked over the lamp and caused the great 
Chicago fire of 1871, so a seemingly minor episode 
started this series of troubles. Some of the depositors 
of an uptown trust company (the Knickerbocker), the 
operations of which had not been on a great scale, be- 
came concerned and started to .^withdraw their de- 
posits. Help was a little slow in being mobilized, and 
before the community woke up, there was a run on 
the bank. This was on October 22, and that day call 
money went to 70%. Within twenty-four hours the 
rate had shot up to 125%, and the run had spread to 
affiliated institutions, notably the Trust Company of 


America, whose chief offices were located in Wall 
Street, and the Lincoln Trust Company, located up- 

By this time people were thoroughly alarmed, and 
runs started on many deposit banks all over the coun- 
try. At once the inelastic system of the old national 
bank act showed its defects. The banks had no central 
bank of issue to turn to, and most of them, deeming their 
fifteen or twenty per cent cash reserves as sacred, rather 
than as resources to be used in such cases of emergency 
as these, tightened up, pulled in their purse strings and 
refused to pay out cash freely. This policy added fuel 
to the flames, and directly the country found itself in 
the throes of a first-class money panic a shortage of 
currency for all purposes with consequent sharp cur- 
tailment of business and industry. Stock exchange 
values fell with a crash. Call loans became frozen, and 
the banks fell back on the old and always disturbing 
device of clearing house certificates. 

The elder Mr. Morgan hurried home from Bar Har- 
bor. This was in October, 1907. At once he organized 
a rescue party, the three chief figures of which were 
himself, George F. Baker, and James Stillman of the 
National City Bank. The story of their indefatigable 
work has been frequently told, but not so often that 
of the younger men upon whom fell the heavy task 
of carrying out the policies which their elders laid 
down. Of this younger group, George W. Perkins, a 
partner in the Morgan firm, and Harry Davison, the 
vice-president of the First National Bank, were the 
most active. Davison, in turn, arranged the co-opera- 
tion of the younger group of bankers associated with 
him on the executive committee of the Bankers Trust 
Company. For four years, as J have explained, these 
men had met weekly for dinner, in their, work of guid- 


Ing and helping to build up the trust company. They 
had gained a common experience and a mutual con- 
fidence that, in times of stress, proved most helpful 
and effective. In addition Davison called in some of 
his juniors as aides. From one of these I am going to 
quote largely: Benjamin Strong, then secretary of the 
four-year-old Bankers Trust Company, later its presi- 
dent; and from 1916 until his death in October, 1928, 
the powerful head of the Federal Reserve Bank of 
New York. 

In the early part of his narrative covering panic con- 
ditions, Strong mentions the apparent suddenness with 
which the financial storm burst upon the community. 
He explains that shortly after the run upon the Knicker- 
bocker Trust Company had started, Davison drafted 
him and some others to make a hasty examination of 
the Company's affairs, in the hope of finding sufficient 
free assets available for a loan to ride through the storm. 
But the task was too complicated, and the Company's 
liquid resources too limited, to afford time for this plan 
to work out. Before even an adequate report could 
be made, the Knickerbocker had closed its doors. 

From that time on, as has been indicated, the rescue 
forces concentrated their attention largely upon the 
Trust Company of America and, in perhaps less degree, 
upon the Lincoln Trust Company. Strong's force of 
examiners, made up of some of the especially compe- 
tent junior officers from several of the other banks, 
started in at once to examine the affairs of the Trust 
Company of America. Late on the same afternoon 
Strong went to the Morgan offices to try to make a 
preliminary report to Mr. Morgan, and to the trust 
company presidents who had been summoned by Mr. 
Morgan to form some sort of concert in behalf of this 


other trust company which was in trouble. This is 
the way Strong describes that interview: 

At the Morgan offices the trust company presi- 
dents were meeting in the front room, but when I 
went in Davison and George Perkins took me into 
the rear room where I found Mr. Morgan, Mr. 
Baker, and Mr. Stillman. And then Mr. Morgan 
made one of his characteristic remarks, so^much to 
the point, and so effective in results. He said to me : 

"Have you anyone with you who can make a 
report to the gentlemen in the next room? They are 
the presidents of the trust companies. But when 
they came into the office they had to be introduced 
to one another, and I don't think much can be ex- 
pected from them!" 

In answer to his questions I told Mr. Morgan that 
I was satisfied that the Trust Company of America 
was solvent; that I thought its surplus had been 
pretty much wiped out; but that the capital was 
not greatly impaired, if at all, although, were the 
company to be liquidated, there were many assets 
which it would take some years finally to convert 
into cash. Mr. Morgan asked me if the bankers 
would be justified in seeing the company through, 
and I told him that that was my best opinion. Turn- 
ing to Mr. Baker and Mr. Stillman, he said: "This, 
then, is the place to stop this trouble." But in the 
whole course of our meeting, which may have lasted 
for three-quarters of an hour, I doubt if Mr. Morgan 
spoke more than five or six times. 

After describing the work of the examining com- 
mittee, of which he was the head, and the long, all- 


night vigils during which it worked. Strong explains 
that at last, after the Committee's report had been 
rendered, the initial loan of $io ? ooo 5 ooo for the Trust 
Company of America was arranged and the situation 
tided over. Then his narrative goes on as follows : 

The real crisis of the 1907 panic came on Friday 
morning, November i, when it became known that, 
owing to the market decline in the price of the 
shares of the Tennessee Coal and Iron Company, 
Messrs. Moore & Schley, one of the largest New 
York Stock Exchange houses, might be forced into 
bankruptcy, with consequent serious embarrassment 
to banks from which this house was borrowing 
heavily against the Coal and Iron shares as col- 
lateral.* A few days before that it had also become 
apparent that the money, so far loaned to the Trust 
Company of America, was not going to be enough 
to see the Company through. 

Consequently I returned with the committee to 
the Trust Company's office to make another exami- 
nation and ascertain whether there were sufficient 
collateral left to secure another loan. We started, 

*This was the situation that led Judge Elbert Gary, Chairman of the 
United States Steel Corporation, to take his hurried midnight journey to 
Washington to lay the situation before President Roosevelt. The episode 
has been well described in Miss Tarbell's biography of Judge Gary. The 
point, obviously, was to ascertain whether, in the view of the Administration, 
the United States Steel Corporation might acquire control of the Tennessee 
Coal and Iron Company without running afoul of the Sherman Act. While, 
clearly the Administration could not possibly give any authority for the 
acquisition, its view seemed to be that, under the prevailing desperate con- 
ditions, the United States Steel Corporation would be warranted in acquiring 
the Tennessee shares. As a matter of fact, the Government did not take 
any steps to upset this particular acquisition prior to its comprehensive suit 
against the Corporation in 1912, presumably because the properties of the 
acquired corporation were located in a region where the Steel Corporation 
had practically no plants. Therefore, no question of suppressing competition 
in that region could arise. 


as I recall, on a Friday and worked without sleeping, 
or even leaving the building, until Saturday after- 
noon. After the figures were completed I was to 
meet Davison and go over the results, before proceed- 
ing to Mr. Morgan's Library to make another re- 
port, at 9 o'clock on this eventful Saturday night. 

There were certain matters in which Mr. Thomas 
F. Ryan was concerned, in connection with the pro- 
posal to make to the Trust Company a new loan. 
Mr. Ryan arrived with Harry at about 8:30 P.M., 
and we went over every item in the report together. 
When we had finished Harry was convinced, as I 
had been all along, that the equity in the Trust 
Company of America amounted to about $2,000,000. 

At about 9 o'clock I went down to Mr. Morgan's 
Library, and found there assembled in the East 
Room representatives of the Clearing House banks, 
in the West Room representatives of the trust com- 
panies. As I went in I saw Judge Gary, Controller 
Filbert of the Steel Corporation, and Mr. Lewis 
Cass Ledyard go into the rear room to join Mr. 
Morgan. Knowing of the Tennessee Coal and Iron 
situation, I felt satisfied that something had gone 
wrong. Harry, I think, for the first time felt some 
sense of discouragement. He told me that Mr. 
Morgan was convinced that $25,000,000 more was 
required to deal with the trust company situation 
alone, and that the Tennessee matter would take an 
additional $25,000,000. And in those days $50,000,- 
ooo looked large indeed, in contrast with such figures 
as those to which we are now accustomed. 

Finally, towards midnight, Mr. Edwin S. Marston, 
President of the Farmers Loan and Trust Company, 
was called from our room to see Mr. Morgan. Up 


to that time nothing but desultory conversation had 
taken place among the bank representatives. I had 
a long talk with Mr. Ledyard and Judge Morgan 
O'Brien as to possible legal complications in case 
another loan were made to the Trust Company of 
America. At first Mr. Ledyard had some question 
as to whether such a loan might not be an act of 
bankruptcy, and might not subject the Trust Com- 
pany to bankruptcy proceedings by any creditor at 
any time ; especially as the policy of the Trust Com- 
pany had been to keep messengers in line waiting for 
long periods before paying checks. Sometimes the 
delay would continue all day and from day to day, 
and the Company might pay no more than one mes- 
senger in a day. If he presented a large amount of 
items. Means were suggested, however, for meeting 
the legal difficulty which seemed to satisfy Mr. Led- 
yard. But still nothing was known as to Mr. Mor- 
gan's Intentions, and no progress could be made to- 
ward raising the new loan. 

After an absence of nearly an hour, Mr. Marston 
finally returned to the group, looking very grave, 
and said that he had been summoned by Mr. Morgan 
to listen to an explanation of another situation which 
had arisen and which he was not at liberty to dis- 
close. This new situation (Tennessee) would re- 
quire the use of at least $25,000,000. He added that 
Mr. Morgan had made arrangements to handle that 
situation contingent, however, upon the trust com- 
pany presidents agreeing to raise not less than $25,- 
000,000, so as adequately to meet the trust company 
difficulties. Mn Morgan was naturally unwilling 
to proceed with the other matter, with the possibility 
of a complete banking collapse which would render 


his efforts futile. This statement by Mr. Marston 
filled the trust company heads with consternation. 

Before I was asked to make a report on the result 
of the last examination of the Trust Company of 
America, I had dozed off to sleep, sitting on a lounge 
next to Mr. James Stillman. I recall his asking me 
when I had last been in bed, and when I told him 
the previous Thursday night, he said the country 
wasn't going to smash if I went home to bed. But 
just then I was called on to report the situation in the 
Trust Company of America, the figures as to which 
I had for the first time, I felt, gained an accurate 
idea of. This must have been about 3 o'clock in the 
morning. Having made my report, I went to the 
front door to go home and found it locked. 

It was indeed true that Mr. Morgan, having as- 
sembled the men to deal with a perilous situation, 
had had the door to the Library locked, and the key 
was in his own pocket. The result was that the 
doors were not finally opened until sufficient assur- 
ances had been given that the all-necessary loan 
would be forthcoming, and I left the Library to walk 
up Madison Avenue with Mr. Baker at exactly a 
quarter to five Sunday morning. I had no opportu- 
nity then to discuss the locked door incident with 
Davison, but when I did, it struck him as a most 
humorous exhibition of Mr. Morgan's peculiar in- 
sight into human nature. There wasn't going to be 
any mistake that night. He intended that all should 
stay to the end of the party! 

I venture to interrupt Benjamin Strong's narrative 
in order to point out that this was, of course, the famous 
all-night meeting that has become one of the traditions 


of the late Mr. Morgan's career. It so happened that 
I was summoned by Davison to attend this particular, 
plenary session of bankers at the Morgan Library. But 
I did not arrive until towards midnight. The scene 
was just as Ben Strong has described it. A more 
incongruous meeting place for anxious bankers could 
hardly be imagined : in one room lof ty, magnificent 
tapestries hanging on the walls, rare Bibles and illumi- 
nated manuscripts of the Middle Ages filling the cases ; 
in another, that collection of the Early Renaissance 
masters Castagno, Ghirlandaio, Perugino, to mention 
only a few the huge open fire, the door just ajar to 
the holy of holies where the original manuscripts were 
safeguarded. And, as I say, an anxious throng of 
bankers, too uneasy to sit down or converse at ease, pac- 
ing through the long marble hall and up and down 
the high-ceilinged rooms, with their cinquecento back- 
ground, waiting for the momentous decisions of the 
modern Medici. 

President Edward King of the Union Trust Com- 
pany had by common consent been selected as the leader 
or dean of the trust company presidents. Mr. Morgan 
pointed out to him, as to his fellow executives, that 
action must be taken, that the fresh loan of $25,000,000 
to the Trust Company of America must be raised or 
the walls of their own edifices might come crumbling 
about their ears. He pointed out that, while he could 
not vouch for the figures, the experts (Benjamin Strong 
and his associates) had just reported that the Trust 
Company was solvent and that, therefore, no loss ought 
to result from this loan (as the event proved to be the 
case) ; and that as the Clearing House banks (at that 
time the trust companies were not members of the 
Clearing House) were looking after the general situa- 


tion, Including the Tennessee Coal and Iron difficulty, 
it necessarily devolved on the trust companies to look 
after their own, so to speak. 

Yet the trust company presidents were reluctant to 
act They felt that, in the absence of their directors, 
they had no authority to commit their institutions. 
They questioned whether their first duty was not to 
conserve all their assets for the storm which, despite 
everything, might burst upon them,. Mr. Morgan 
understood well enough their situation. Inwardly he 
sympathized with them. But he had a task to accom- 
plish. The situation must not get further out of hand. 
It had to be saved. Briefly he pointed out the chief 
factors in the situation. He said he was satisfied that, 
if each trust company president present signed for an 
amount, computed fairly on the basis of his company's 
resources, etc., the several boards of directors would 
surely ratify the action. 

By this time Mr. Ledyard, Judge O'Brien and other 
lawyers had agreed upon the form of a simple subscrip- 
tion blank to make up the total loan of $25,000,000. 
One of them read it aloud to the assembled bankers. 
Then they laid it on the table. Mr. Morgan waved his 
hand invitingly towards the paper. "There you are, 
gentlemen," he said. 

The bankers shifted from one foot to another, but 
no one stepped forward, Mr. Morgan waited a few 
moments. Then he put his hand on the shoulder of 
his friend, Edward King, and gently urged him for- 
ward. "There's the place, King," he said kindly, but 
firmly, "and here's the pen," placing a handsome gold 
pen in Mr. King's fingers. Mr. King signed. The ice 
was broken. They all signed. Mr. King had been no 
more hesitant or less courageous than the others. It 


had simply fallen to his lot to lead off. When the final 
moment came, he went forward. 

Strong concludes his story by saying: 

My impressions of Harry's work during all of that 
anxious period are almost as vivid today (1924) as 
they were seventeen years ago. He was the com- 
manding general over the forces in the field. Behind 
him was the general staff, principally Mr. Morgan, 
Mr. Baker and Mr, Stillman. Harry was throwing 
his forces, that is, the various elements in the organi- 
zation, at one task after another and listening to the 
results of the action whatever it might have been. 
There were at least twelve institutions being specially 
administered in one way or another during all of that 
period. Each one presented problems, the most se- 
rious of which, indeed, were not alone questions of 
security, but those of personality, prejudice and 
sometimes selfishness and timidity. It was in dealing 
with the human equation that Harry's supreme talent 
was shown. He reconciled differences of view, 
calmed the uneasy and anxious ; he inspired the timid, 
sometimes disciplined the cowardly, but with it all 
his courage never flagged, his industry was unceasing 
and his good temper never failed him. 

In commenting elsewhere upon Davison's work in 
the 1907 panic Strong said: 

How accurate Davison's judgment was, did not 
fully disclose itself until the climax which developed 
in the New York banking situation in 1907. Nor 
was the first fruit of his work realized until, with the 
shock of the panic past in 1911, the trust companies 


finally became members of the New York Clearing 
House Association, largely under the leadership of 
the men associated in the Bankers Trust Company, 
and in accordance with a purpose which Harry had 
long had in mind. 

There can be no question that it was Davison's work 
in the 1907 panic that first attracted the elder Mr. 
Morgan's particular attention to him, and started his 
thoughts moving in the direction of inviting Davison 
to become a member of the Morgan firm. 

In my mention of the elder Mr. Morgan in this vol- 
ume, I have dwelt particularly upon those phases of his 
career which came under my personal observation or 
which were described to me by Harry Davison. The 
incidents which I have narrated relate particularly to 
certain concrete instances, where the late Mr. Morgan 
undertook some difficult task of financial rescue for the 
good of the public as a whole. In dwelling on these 
matters, I should not give the impression that he al- 
ways neglected his own affairs in order to serve those of 
his fellows. But the period when Davison and I knew 
him was after he had reached the age of three score 
years and ten. By that time, his work of up-building in 
railroading and in industry was fairly in the past The 
question of profit or loss had clearly become secondary 
with him. He had retired from his place as chief ex- 
ecutive of his firm and had become the elderly but 
exceedingly keen counselor, ready at a moment's no- 
tice to enter the fray again, if his active presence were 

His last great and active participation in the coun- 
try's affairs was in this very money panic of 1907. That 
was seven years before the organization of the Federal 


Reserve banking system, and there was no official and 
recognized leadership in the banking world as there is 
now constituted, as such leadership is, In the Federal 
Reserve Bank of New York and the Federal Reserve 
Board at Washington. Hence, by reason of the fact 
that, for at least two generations prior to 1907, Mr. 
Morgan had always been the rallying point, the port of 
safety in storm and stress, the financial and even the 
banking community looked to him as Its natural and 
inevitable leader. 

And in times of trouble he was superb. The story of 
his part In the quelling of the 1907 panic has been told 
in a sketchy way many times by word of mouth. It 
ought to be set down for the record some time, before 
all of Mr. Morgan's intimate associates in the work of 
those feverish autumn days of 1907 have passed com- 
pletely from the scene. But from my own limited per- 
sonal experience at the time, from the firm's records, 
and from the testimony of my partner, Charles Steele 
who, himself a wise and courageous counselor, was at 
Mr. Morgan's elbow throughout the whole period, It 
is not too much to say that our late senior was almost 
recklessly prodigal of the firm's resources, if he thought 
the utilization of them could be made to help stem the 
tide of disaster. He seemed to care not a whit what 
losses he and his partners might suffer, if only the situa- 
tion could be saved. And at no time throughout the 
entire crisis did he harbor any thought other than that 
the difficulties must, and finally would, certainly be 

One characteristic of Mr. Morgan's was manifested 
at the height of the panic, In his absolute determination 
to save the credit of the City of New York. The au- 
thorities of the City have rarely utilized the good offices 
of the Morgan firm, except in times of crisis. The latest 


one was in January and February of 1932; before that 
in August and September of 1914 (as described in the 
chapter in this volume contributed by Dwight W. Mor- 
row) ; and still further back in the dark days of 1907. 

It was on a Sunday, October 27, in that year, that it 
developed that New York City was facing a financial 
crisis. Something like thirty million dollars of short 
term obligations were coming due, and there was no 
prospect of renewing them. The money market was 
completely disorganized. The rates for call money 
were fluctuating wildly, and, on one or two days, the 
renewal rate on the New York Stock Exchange had 
run up as high as 150% per annum. But the moment 
that the elder Mr. Morgan had heard the story from 
Mayor McClellan and the other City officials, he un- 
dertook to meet the danger. 

He thought over the problem for a full forty-eight 
hours. Then he invited the Mayor and other City 
officials to his library. After a brief discussion, Mr. 
Morgan sat down at his desk, picked up a pen and 
began to write. 

Fifteen minutes or so passed. Then he gathered the 
loose sheets and handed them to his banking asso- 
ciates present, George F. Baker and James Stillman, 
and to his counsel, F. L. Stetson. The writing con- 
stituted a draft of a contract. Under its terms Mr. 
Morgan agreed to furnish the City with the thirty mil- 
lion dollars required. The contract that he had drawn 
was so complete in both substance and form that it 
was accepted at once by the Mayor and his legal ad- 
visers, as well as by the bankers. 

Neither Mr. Morgan nor his banking associates knew 
then just where the money was coming from for the ful- 
fillment of the contract, but before the next twenty-four 
hours had passed they had completed their plans, and 



the City's credit was saved at a time when banking and 
corporate structures all over the country were falling to 
the ground. 

This particular document Mr. Morgan's draft con- 
tract with the City, written off in a few minutes and 
under great pressure from outside events has always 
been considered as a unique performance under the 
extraordinary conditions prevailing at the time, 

Just as, in the course of the 1907 panic, Harry Davi- 
son first came to the favorable attention of our late 
Senior, so in turn that series of dramatic events gave 
Davison his first real glimpse of a great leader in ac- 
tion. Up to that autumn of 1907, Davison had been 
accustomed to meet Mr. Morgan only at the monthly 
meetings of the directors of the First National Bank. 
He had never worked with, or under him. Thus the 
clarity of his purposes and his constructive will came 
almost as a personal revelation to Davison. He was 
filled with admiration for what he saw being accom- 
plished. His imagination was kindled. Mr. Morgan 
was for Davison no longer a name, a mysterious power : 
he became a human being, living, vital, stimulating, 
commanding. A full twelvemonth rolled around be- 
fore Mr. Morgan asked him to enter the firm. But 
when the invitation came, it was from a man for whom 
he had already conceived not only an admiration that 
was almost reverence, but a strong personal attachment. 


Adviser to the United States Monetary Commission Important 
hearings in Europe under Senator Aldrictis leadership Jekyl Island 
Conference The drafting of the Aldrich reform bill Paul War- 
burg's narrative Final organization of the Federal Reserve System 
Some of its developments Glaring defects in the country's present 
banking system Halting progress towards banking stability 

NO CIVILIZED country of modern times has suffered 
so cruelly from unscientific and inefficient cur- 
rency and banking systems as has the United States 
in the last hundred and forty-five years. Within that 
period the country has gone through a long series of 
banking collapses, due largely to like causes, and bring- 
ing to the American community prodigious losses. The 
money panic of 1907, certain phases of which I have 
described in the preceding chapter, was but another 
in the long series of disasters. The serious banking 
troubles of 1931 added another chapter to the melan- 
choly record; and unfortunate developments of even 
more recent date have only served to accentuate the 

It took seven years, following the disastrous cur- 
rency panic of 1907, to bring about banking reform 
sufficient to get the Federal Reserve System estab- 
lished. Obviously, the country cannot wait another 
seven years to bring about the changes necessary to 
prevent a recurrence of its more recent difficulties. 

But, contrary to the expressed opinion of many per- 
sons, this sad history has been due not to the machina- 



tions or deviltry of men or of groups of men ; but largely 
to the Inherent conditions surrounding the astonishingly 
rapid development of a whole continent. In banking, 
the country's experience and mobile resources have 
never kept pace with Its expansion and with Its chang- 
ing conditions. Unwise, reckless and, In occasional 
Individual Instances, dishonest management have added 
to the difficulties. Today, In the Federal Reserve Sys- 
tem, we have a thoroughly scientific and sound founda- 
tion. But the System's scope Is not yet broad enough, 
and the Ills which the community has suffered in the 
last three years show clearly enough how much still 
remains to be remedied. 

For a century and a quarter attempts to develop a 
scientific banking system were generally blocked by the 
country's deep-seated and continuing distrust of cen- 
tralized banking, despite the success of such banking 
systems In Great Britain, France and other European 
countries as well as In Canada. The (First) Bank of 
the United States operated from 1791 up to 1811, and 
the Second Bank of the United States from 1816 to 
1836, when Congress, with President Andrew Jackson 
goading It on, finally refused to renew its charter. The 
operations of both these banks had, on the whole, been 
so helpful that, if they could have been continued, our 
whole currency and banking history would have been 
far different. 

In the periods following the closing of these two in- 
stitutions, wild-cat banking ran riot and confusion 
reigned. Mushroom institutions sprang up through- 
out the country. Many of them, without even a dollar 
of paid-in capital, issued their notes and then when 
times became difficult repudiated them with what, for 
those early days, were desperately heavy losses for the 
community to bear. 


The panic of 1837, which Is historic in its extent and 
fury, came largely as a result of the mad inflation caused 
by the hastily formed banks, operating with none of 
the restraints that would normally be exercised by a 
centralized banking authority. 

In the following twenty years, some slight progress 
in method was made, especially at the large centres 
where clearing house associations began to be estab- 
lished (New York City's in 1853), and began to exer- 
cise a certain restraining influence. Yet during this 
period, there came into existence hundreds of new, note- 
issuing banks, their charters being granted by the 
States. And when, following the collapse of the rail- 
way-building boom, the panic and depression of 1857 
arrived, scores of these banks again went through the 
process of repudiating their note issues. And again the 
guileless public, which is so slow to profit even by its 
own experience, suffered grievous losses from the ap- 
palling number of bank failures. 

The Civil War helped in a way to establish, for the 
first time in our history, a national banking system and 
a national system of uniform currency. For after the 
Federal Government, totally underestimating the dura- 
tion and cost of the war, had failed to levy sufficient 
taxes and had given itself over to the huge issues of 
unsupported greenbacks, it saw or at least its Secre- 
tary of the Treasury, Salmon Portland Chase, saw 
the financial abyss towards which affairs were swiftly 

As a result, and as a consequence of the need to facili- 
tate the sale of Government bonds for war purposes, 
there was enacted the National Currency Act of 1863- 
'64, which provided for the organization of banks un- 
der a, Federal charter, and for a circulating medium 
secured by the deposit of United States Government 


bonds by these national banks. By successive enact- 
ments for the taxation of State banks, many such in- 
stitutions were gradually forced Into the national sys- 
tem. State bank notes being taxed out of existence. 
Thus 5 clumsy as it was, a uniform currency was pro- 
vided. This was the system which, working well 
enough in prosperous times and badly enough in times 
of stress or fear, carried on until the Federal Reserve 
System was established In 1914. The National Cur- 
rency Act was never repealed, and there is still a sub- 
stantial amount of national bank-note circulation 
outstanding under its provisions, with some Increase 
recently by virtue of the Glass-Borah amendment; the 
purposes of w r hich I shall explain a little later. 

The panic and depression of 1873 anc ^ *h e years just 
following came as an inevitable result of the repercus- 
sions and dislocations of the Civil War, and of the 
greenback inflation that accompanied and followed it. 
During a good part of the years following, the country 
was so busily engaged in other measures, designed to 
establish the national finance upon a sound basis, that 
banking reform came slowly and haltingly. The fight 
for the resumption of specie payments by the Govern- 
ment was won in 1878. Then the struggle for sound 
money as against free silver had to be fought out. That 
was won in the McKinley-Bryan campaign of 1896. 
Meanwhile, In 1884 and 1893, the country again suf- 
fered widespread and severe banking troubles, with a 
climax in the disastrous currency panic of 1907. 

My object, in thus briefly sketching the vicissitudes 
of our American currency and banking systems, and in 
pointing out the melancholy losses of a long-suffering 
people, is to provide the background for what I have 
to tell about Davison's work for currency reform and 
the part that he took in it. 


One might almost have begun to think that the Amer- 
ican people had become completely hardened to their 
currency troubles. But the sudden and shocking money 
panic of 1907, with banks failing all over the land, 
aroused the country, as no similar trouble had ever 
done before, to the urgent necessity of revising its cur- 
rency system. It had become obvious how stupid a 
thing it was, for a nation of the size and resources of 
the United States, to undergo these recurring spasms 
when countries of Europe, with far less resources, were 
able, by means of a more scientific currency mecha- 
nism, largely to avoid such cataclysms. With these 
banking failures on every side, sober men had begun 
to realize more fully than before how anomalous and 
Inexcusable was the spectacle in 1907 of such institu- 
tions as the Knickerbocker Trust Company and others 
going "over the dam," while scores of institutions 
around them, with ample liquid resources, were able 
to afford aid only with the greatest difficulty. The 
trouble was, as we have seen in the previous chapter, 
that there was no central or coordinating banking unit 
that could serve as a rallying point for reserve strength 
and cooperation. In the existing system, there was 
practically no elasticity whatever. 

This public feeling, manifesting itself in Congress, 
was responsible for the appointment early in 1908 of 
the National Monetary Commission, made up of mem- 
bers of both houses of Congress, with Senator Aldrich, 
of Rhode Island, acting as chairman. Senator Aldrich 
had met Davison several times and had recognized in 
him the type of banking leadership so essential in the 
coming generation, then in its thirties and forties. He 
Invited Davison to become the Commission's adviser 
not a technical adviser, but one who could bring to 
bear on the Commission's study a commonsense knowl- 


edge of banking as It was practised in the financial 
centre of the United States. 

Davlson had never been a profound student of the 
Continental banking systems, but he at once set to 
work with textbooks, and by the time the Commission 
had crossed the ocean (August, 1908) he had an excel- 
lent working knowledge of the main points of the sys- 
tems which the Commission was to explore. Inciden- 
tally, It might be explained that In this Inquiry abroad 
the Commission, which had a large membership, was 
actually represented by a sub-committee. The Com- 
mission, thus constituted, held sittings first at the Bank 
of England and then In the leading Continental capi- 
tals : Paris, Berlin, and Vienna. The local bankers In 
all these countries were more than ready to tell the 
American Monetary Commission all they knew. They 
threw their books open for complete Inspection, and 
they gave a large amount of time to the visiting 

The Commission's method was to prepare a general 
questionnaire which the British and European bankers, 
in turn, would answer. With these answers as a basis 
the Commission would then hold oral hearings, at 
which its members would for hours at a time put ques- 
tions to these foreign bankers, including officials not 
only of the central banks of issue, but also of many 
leading joint stock banks and private banking houses. 
Stenographic reports of these hearings were made and 
finally embodied in a voluminous report which the 
Commission made to Congress. In the preparation of 
this report Davison was, as usual, active and helpful. 
Perhaps of even greater importance were his searching 
questions In the oral hearings held abroad. He was 
the only very active banker connected with the Amer- 
ican Commission, who had sufficient experience to bring 


out clearly the points as to how these foreign banking 
systems worked in detailed practice, and in terms of 
American banking. 

When, on work for the Bankers Trust Company, 
I met Davison at Paris in the summer of 1908, he was 
absorbed in the researches of the Monetary Commis- 
sion and enthusiastic about its chairman, Senator 
Aldrich. The work of the Commission on this Euro- 
pean pilgrimage and its subsequent report to Congress 
formed, of course, the basis of the bill which Senator 
Aldrich introduced as a measure of currency reform. 
The Aldrich Bill never became law, but Paul M. War- 
burg has given in his book, "The Federal Reserve 
System," a comparison of the Aldrich Bill with our 
Federal Reserve System, as it stands today, in order to 
show how much our present law is indebted to the re- 
searches and conclusions of the commission of which 
Senator Aldrich was the head. 

At this time, as at previous important junctures, 
politics, of course, served to confuse the discussions 
in Congress and the progress of banking reform gener- 
ally. There was almost a revival of the old debates of 
President Andrew Jackson's time over the ill-fated 
Bank of the United States. The prejudices of eighty 
years before against one central bank of issue and 
against the too great power that would, it was alleged, 
rest in such an institution, made it necessary to recast 
the form of the plan considerably. The debates 
dragged along through the Taft administration, and a 
plan of banking reform was gradually evolved and 
built up. In the private discussions at this time, Davi- 
son was much in demand. He was frequently called 
to Washington to explain privately to members of Con- 
gress the practical effect of certain clauses they were 
discussing, and to make clear the workings of certain 


of the foreign currency systems which they were trying 
In part to adapt or to adopt 

A prior development, of Importance In leading up to 
the later organization of the Federal Reserve System, 
was the Act of Congress, of May 3, 19085 which au- 
thorized the establishment of organizations throughout 
the country to be known as National Currency Asso- 
ciations. This was actually an Interim measure of 
currency reform, passed rather quickly by Congress In 
the spring following the money panic of 1907, and 
largely, without question, under the stimulus of the 
country's recent currency troubles. Davlson had much 
to do with the preliminary discussions looking to the 
passage of this currency act He was present at the first 
meeting of the New York bankers on June 8, 1908, and 
he had arranged that the legal work having to do with 
the New York Association should be handled by 
George B. Case. Delays occurred, however, in utiliz- 
ing the provisions of the Act, and it was not until July, 
1910, that the "National Currency Association of the 
City of New York" was organized. The only time 
that the provisions of the Aldrich-Vreeland Currency 
Act were utilized was just subsequent to the outbreak 
of the Great War in August, 1914. The total amount 
of currency then issued under the terms of the Act was 
$382,502,645. Retirement of these issues was rapid. 

Davison had been fully cognizant that the Act of 
1908 was a makeshift measure. Yet he had been so 
deeply impressed by the calamities of 1907, that he 
threw himself heart and soul into the work of helping 
to establish some adequate emergency machinery, al- 
though he knew full well that what the country needed, 
and must have, was a thorough-going revision of its 
banking and currency systems. 

In the autumn of 1931, nine years after Davison's 


death, the country found Itself again In the throes of a 
new banking crisis which even the Federal Reserve 
System, with all its strength, had been unable to avert. 
Owing to the world-wide depression and the terrific 
deflation In the prices of commodities and investments, 
the public had become fearful and had begun to with- 
draw deposits from the banks upon an alarming scale. 
Smaller institutions all over the country were failing by 
the score, and the situation seemed to be daily growing 
worse. At that juncture (early October, 1931), under 
the leadership of President Hoover, the country's bank- 
ers organized the "National Credit Corporation," for 
the relief of sound but hard-pressed banks throughout 
the country. And at the suggestion of Albert H. 
Wiggin and other New York bankers, the form of the 
new credit corporation was largely modeled upon the 
old National Currency Associations of 1910. The need 
In 1931 was not for currency, but for credit aid. But 
the same principle of regional, banking cooperation was 
made to apply. Thus Davison's active work on the 
Currency Association plan, back in 1908, 1909 and 
1910, again served a purpose. He had cast bread upon 
the waters that was to come back after many years. 

Again, in February, 1932, the same principle has 
found expression in the provisions of the Glass-Steagall 
Act, under which member banks of the Federal Reserve 
System, in groups of five or more, are enabled to obtain 
additional accommodation from the Federal Reserve 

Senator Aldrich had asked Davison and others to 
make some practical suggestions that he might con- 
sider in his work of framing the original Aldrich Plan 
of currency reform. And the resulting discussions 
formed an interesting episode in Davison's active life. 
Nathaniel Wright Stephenson, the author of Senator 


Aldrich ? s biography which appeared In 1930, writes 
entertainingly of the so-called Jekyl Island trip which 
was made In November of 1910. Davison himself, 
after the trip was all over, told a few friends of it. Now 
It has become history. 

Davison realized, just as the experienced Senator 
Aldrich had realized, that the elaborate Investigations 
and the report of the Monetary Commission would go 
for little, unless some practicable scheme for American 
banking and currency reform were evolved from the 
work of the Commission. Yet how was such a plan to 
be worked out? Davison's ready and resourceful mind 
gave an answer to Senator Aldrich's Insistent question 
on this point He would gather together a few tried 
and experienced banking men, and together with the 
Senator they would journey to the remote Jekyl Island 
Club, off the southeastern corner of Georgia. There 
without interruption, they would spend a week or ten 
days together and thresh out a plan. Senator Aldrich 
eagerly accepted Davison's suggestion and left him to 
make up the party. 

Davison invited on this "duck-shooting" trip Paul 
M. Warburg, then of Kuhn, Loeb & Co., a thorough 
and experienced student of the art and science of bank- 
ing; Frank A. Vanderlip, the head of a great banking 
institution, and himself widely versed in both domestic 
and international banking and as well a clear drafts- 
man; and Dr. Piatt Andrew, the special assistant to 
the Monetary Commission and an economist of stand- 
ing. These four together with Senator Aldrich pro- 
ceeded quietly to Jekyl Island, and when they returned, 
after ten days of protracted and indefatigable discus- 
sion and labor, there was a "Plan" in hand. Mr. 
Stephenson,, in the Aldrich biography, speaking of this 


conference, says: "In managing people, Mr. Davison 
had the magic touch. It was fortunate that he had." 

But Paul Warburg, several months before his death, 
was good enough to furnish for this volume the best 
and most complete story of this now historic trip. He 
wrote : 

I have no positive knowledge as to whether Sen- 
ator Aldrich or Davison originated the unheralded 
trip to Jekyl, but, personally, I have no doubt 
that it was Mr. Davison's idea. He saw Senator 
Aldrich bewildered by all he had absorbed abroad, 
faced with the difficult task of writing a highly tech- 
nical bill while being harassed by the daily grind of 
his parliamentary duties. One can easily visualize 
the workings of Davison's mind and his resolve to 
take his friend away from Washington, to carry him 
off into seclusion with a few men qualified to aid in 
the formulation of the law, and thus to bring to a 
quick conclusion an all-important but difficult task, 
instead of permitting it to become endangered by 
continued delay and procrastination. 

The small party, consisting of Senator Aldrich, 
Mr. Shelton, secretary, and Professor A. Piatt An- 
drew, special assistant of the Monetary Commission, 
Davison, Frank A. Vanderlip, and myself, set out on 
its trip to Jekyl Island in November, 1910. It spent 
a week in complete seclusion and privacy, and it de- 
veloped and formulated then and there the first draft 
of what later became known as the Aldrich Bill. In 
the protracted and difficult discussions that took 
place at Jekyl Island, Davison showed those rare 
qualities which later on in his brilliant career I had 
frequent opportunity to observe and admire. He 
knew how to be silent and to listen, how to permit the 


problem to unfold Itself by encouraging those to 
express their ideas who had studied the matter more 
closely, or had some constructive thoughts upon it. 
Occasionally, as the discussion would proceed, he 
would ask some keen questions which, in the end^ 
might lead either to a good-natured abandonment of 
suggestions made or, if further exploration brought 
out the soundness of a proposal, Davison would place 
himself squarely behind it and aid its general accept- 
ance by the weight of his convincing and charming 

In these respects Davison's contributions to the 
discussions at Jekyl Island were invaluable. Un- 
sound and politically Impracticable proposals had to 
be brushed aside and every constructive suggestion, 
before being permitted to be embodied in the plan, 
had to stand the acid test of a cool and penetrating 
scrutiny. After all it was a desperately trying under- 
taking to devise a plan that would be theoretically 
sound, . technically practicable, and still be accept- 
able to hostile or prejudiced politicians and to "hard 
boiled" bankers whose self-interest was deeply in- 
volved in the project. Davison's patience and his 
quick and sound, common-sense reactions were of the 
greatest aid to Senator Aldrich in deciding upon the 
fundamental lines of the plan, and in reaching con- 
clusions concerning the endless questions of technical 
detail involved in the writing of the bill. 

Of equal importance to his intellectual contribu- 
tions was what Davison added in "atmosphere." 
Where minds of men met, whose convictions were 
deep and whose interest was sincere, it was inevitable 
that long hours of Intense debate would lead to sharp 
differences of opinion. Davison had an uncanny gift 
in sensing the proper moment for changing the topic, 


for giving the discussion a timely new turn, thus 
avoiding a clash or a deadlock. That, after a week of 
hard labor, the conferees agreed on the draft of a 
complete bill and ended their work as friends, with 
a justified sense of satisfaction in what they had ac- 
complished, was due, in the first degree, to their 
genuine devotion to the common task; but Davison's 
tact and genial sense of humor deserve no small share 
of credit for the happy result attained. After we 
had completed the sketch of the bill, and before set- 
tling down to its definite formulation, it was decided 
that we had earned "a day off," which was to be 
devoted to duck shooting. I shall never forget Harry 
Davison as he came down the next morning, ready 
for the sport, with all the physical vitality bursting 
forth that had been cooped up during a week of 
ceaseless, mental strain. He was like a boy out for 
a lark. And what a perfect shot he proved himself 
to be. I can still see the pathetic twinkle in his eye 
when the next day, the fun being over, we sat down 
once more to our grim task. 

When, after long weeks of delay, the bill was 
finally ready to be launched, it became incumbent 
upon its sponsors to win over one by one the leaders 
in banking and finance. Davison did yeoman work 
in this regard, and his interest in the fate of the bill 
never flagged until its final failure in Congress. But, 
even though the bill failed of adoption, history will 
not deny due credit to Senator Aldrich for having 
paved the way for the Federal Reserve Act which, in 
spite of essential differences in form and control, was 
erected on the foundation laid by the Aldrich Bill. 
Coming generations, when gratefully acknowledging 
Senator Aldrich's share in bringing about genuine 
banking reform in the United States, may well re- 


member Harry Davison, as the Senator's trusted and 
devoted aide In this great and patriotic work. 

In his letter furnishing this interesting narrative of 
:he Jefcyl Island trip, Paul Warburg sketched In a few 
/Ivld words those characteristics of Davison which ail 
lis devoted friends, Including Warburg himself , so well 
recognized. Warburg said : 

In the picture that Harry Davison has left on my 
mlndj the trait that stands out most vividly Is the 
rare combination of boyish playfulness and manly 
seriousness. He came in with a smile and left you 
smiling. But, In between, there would be moments 
when, with a deep earnestness, he would have Im- 
pressed upon you the thoughts he had on his mind, 
And It was just because his buoyant joyfulness made 
him so charming a companion and brought him so 
close to your heart that his earnestness and determi- 
nation, when he brought them to bear, were all the 
more captivating, convincing, and effective. A keen 
Intellect and unusual will power, blended with these 
lighter strains, made him a rare leader of men. Not 
that he exacted subordination ; he led in most cases, 
I believe, because men enjoyed following him. 

For a detailed account of the chief public discussions, 
md of the educational effort that was carried on in the 
^arly years following the banking and currency troubles 
3f 1907, in order to prepare the public mind for radical 
:urrency reform, one must turn to Mr. Warburg's two 
volumes which are interesting and complete. Himself 
thoroughly trained in his youth in the methods of 
central banking, as carried on in the Old World, Mr. 
Warburg did an immense amount through publication 


and private discussion to stir up the community to the 
weaknesses of the existing situation. Davison often 
used to speak in unmeasured terms of Warburg's ca- 
pacity and effective work, and he early expressed that 
warm admiration for his high character and engaging 
personality that the rest of us later came to share. 

Senator Aldrich gave his word of testimony as to 
Davison's work when, writing fully five years after the 
work of the Monetary Commission had been completed, 
he said: a ln the assistance which Mr. Davison gave the 
Monetary Commission he rendered distinguished serv- 
ices to the Commission and to the public." Senator 
Aldrich added : "His broad economic information, and 
his exceptional services in this respect, were recognized 
as being of the greatest benefit to the Committee, indi- 
vidually and collectively, on whose reports subsequent 
financial legislation of our Government will be based. 
In the subsequent work of the Commission, in the con- 
sideration of technical banking questions, and in the 
practical application of sound banking principles, Mr. 
Davison's advice and suggestions were of the greatest 
value. Furthermore, in the general financial situation, 
Mr. Davison has not only always exercised a strong 
conservative influence, but his services have been ex- 
tremely important in a constructive way, and his 
motives have been unquestionably those of a patriot." 

Among the running notes which the late Benjamin 
Strong furnished for this sketch, is this one bearing 
upon Davison's work on this whole matter of currency 
reform : 

Throughout all the discussion that preceded the 
organization of the Federal Reserve System Davi- 
son's attitude and labors were most constructive. At 
that time I was being urged to resign the presidency 


of the Bankers Trust Company and to gov- 

ernor of the Federal Reserve Bank. Davison was a 
supporter of the Owen-Glass plan ? although he had 
preferred the Aldrlch plan. It was, In fact, Harry 
and Jack Morgan who finally urged upon me that the 
organization of the Federal Reserve Bank of New 
York was a duty which I could not escape and should 
not decline. At the same time, Harry warned me 
with a great deal of feeling that If the Federal Re- 
serve plan were carried through It meant, according 
to his conception, such a change In our banking rela- 
tions as would naturally end the close business rela- 
tions that had so long existed between us and might 
even tend to lessen somewhat our personal intimacy. 

In recent years, there has been much discussion as 
to what statesman at Washington was really and finally 
responsible for writing the law which, at the end, estab- 
lished the Federal Reserve System. Of course, no one 
man was responsible for it. As Mr. Warburg has 
pointed out, if all the successive drafts of the law, be- 
ginning with Senator Aldrich's Bill of 1910, could have 
been preserved and now laid before us, we should find 
that, as in all these great matters, the law was an 
evolution. Bits were snipped off here and added on 
there. Whole paragraphs were verbally recast as to 
form, but left little changed as to substance. 

The idea of one central bank was discarded, and, in 
place of it, was adopted the plan of twelve central, re- 
gional banks of issue, headed by a Federal Reserve 
Board at Washington, which exercises supervisory con- 
trol over all the twelve a device not differing so vastly 
from the Central Bank plan of Senator Aldrich's origi- 
nal bill, but certainly affording less opportunity for po- 
litical controversy in the debates during the course of 


the final bill through Congress. Thus President Jack- 
son and his shades were no longer invoked so in- 
sistently. The scheme of regional central institutions, 
each with note-issuing privilege, but subject to super- 
vision by the Federal Reserve Board at Washington, 
served to please the local pride of these various regions 
and to gain readier support in Congress. This was a 
perfectly legitimate consideration for Representative 
Glass (as he then was) and his associates, handling the 
legislation at Washington, to have in mind. 

The twelve regional banks, supervised by a central 
board, function less decisively than is desirable at times, 
but the recognition thus given to local autonomy has 
brought the System greater strength and more complete 
public support than a central bank with local branches 
could have had. This is a broad land of diverse people 
and conditions. We have a federal government and 
forty-eight states. Twelve regional banks under a Fed- 
eral board have furnished a system well adapted to the 
country's requirements. Its workings may seem at 
times cumbersome, but the marvel is that the genius 
of our people has evolved systems, political and other- 
wise, that function on the whole pretty effectively over 
a vast continent, and to the satisfaction of a great and 
independent-minded population. 

Although so much of the vitally important prelimi- 
nary work in forming the Federal Reserve System was 
done under a Republican (Taft's) administration, it yet 
remained for the Democrats under President Wilson to 
pass the necessary legislation and to establish the coun- 
try's new banking system. Mr. Wilson and his asso- 
ciates met serious opposition from many quarters, but 
by steady persistence they were able to overcome it all. 
President Wilson, himself, was no inconsiderable factor 
in this result. He always disclaimed any expert finan- 


cial knowledge, but, as all who ever had any 

intimate contacts with him found, he had a mind quick 
to grasp the essentials of any problem, even one far 
outside his usual province, if it were presented to him 
in brief and simple terms. His whole attitude toward 
the Federal Reserve legislation showed that he under- 
stood the serious necessity for currency reform and the 
urgent need of prompt action. 

No one, then, can gainsay the fact that the Federal 
Reserve System has, considering its statutory limita- 
tions, worked remarkably well. Of course, it has met 
ample criticism much of it hostile, much of it based 
on the unfounded charge that the control which the 
System exercises over the country's money markets is 
too great. Naturally, within broad limits, the System 
does exercise a control. We had, for over a century, 
the spectacle of what happened when there was no sort 
of effective unification or cooperation. It would be 
idle, as I have already indicated, to try to estimate 
losses, running into hundreds of millions of dollars, 
which the country suffered from lack of sane banking 
guidance. It was to bring order out of chaos and to 
establish measurable control, that the System was 

Even so, for very obvious reasons, the present Fed- 
eral Reserve System falls far short of unifying the 
banking methods of the country. If we are ever to 
attain in full measure the banking stability which, as 
we all know, other civilized countries enjoy, the com- 
munity must continue to support and strengthen the 
Federal Reserve System. At best, progress in such 
measures is a slow business. It took forty years, fol- 
lowing the almost complete break-down of banking in 
1873 (except in New York City and a few of the other 


large centres), before the country was able to evolve the 
Federal Reserve Act of 1913. 

Now, we have had the Federal Reserve System func- 
tioning since 1914. And even with its limitations, it 
Is hard to see how the Government could ever have 
carried on its War and post- War financing without it 
Yet what our average citizen very naturally fails to 
understand is why, if the Federal Reserve has such 
manifest virtues, it is unable to prevent the terrific 
crop of banking failures which the country has wit- 
nessed in the last decade and especially in the last two 
years. The answer is, upon proper analysis, not diffi- 
cult to find. But before we attempt to give it, let us 
look at some of the figures of banking failures in the 
eleven years, 1921 -'31. 

In that period, there were total bank failures 
aggregating 9,285, with deposits thus tied up, or in part 
dissipated, of $4,278,000,000. Of this total, only 1,698 
banks were members of the Federal Reserve, and almost 
four-and-a-half times as many, namely 7,587 banks were 
outside the System. In the years 1 930-^31 alone, the 
bank failures totaled 3,643, and here again the proper- 
tion of non-member to member banks was almost as 
four-and-a-half to one.* It should be added that the 
most of these failures were of small banks, with ex- 
tremely limited capital. 

When we study these figures we see at once where 
the leakage, so to speak, comes in. The supervision 
which the Federal Reserve Banks are able to exercise 
over member banks is of course limited. But over non- 
member banks the Federal Reserve has no control 
whatsoever. These non-member banks are, without 
exception, State institutions subject to greatly varying 

* These figures are from the latest annual report of the Federal Reserve 


degrees and kinds of supervision. Thus, if Is no won- 
der that objective students of our banking system are 
bewildered and declare it despite the existence of the 
Federal Reserve to be no system at all. 

If one were to attempt to analyze some of the fea- 
tures of this confused conglomerate of banks, one 
would, probably, suggest that with such a wide reach of 
territory as the United States covers, the European sys- 
tem of branch banking is difficult to put into operation. 
Yet how, then, does one explain the almost entire 
absence of banking failures just across our northern 
border in Canada, where there is no central bank of 
Issue or recourse, but where the whole system is built 
upon branch banking, with three or four large Institu- 
tions as the nuclei? Such a system certainly avoids the 
weakness of small capitalization which marks many of 
our American institutions. In many instances, the 
paid-in capital of our country banks is so slight as to be 
subject to Impairment under the most ordinary con- 
ditions of difficult times, as we have had ample witness 
In recent years. It Is a noteworthy fact that. In number, 
ninety per cent of our banks are located in rural com- 
munities, subject to all the vicissitudes of crop failures, 
or the expansion and deflation of business "booms," and 
without any of the protection afforded by a parent 
institution fortified with ample capital and managed 
by experienced men. 

Nature has, as it were, In the last few years made an 
Ineffective attempt to cure the situation through the 
device of chain-banking and of holding corporations. 
Some well-established Institution in a centre such as, 
say Buffalo, or Detroit, or St. Paul or Dallas, has 
bought up a controlling or preponderant interest in 
various institutions, usually but not always, fairly close 
at hand, and has attempted to direct, in a coordinated 


way, the operations of such Institutions. But, with 
some rather striking exceptions, chain- or group-bank- 
ing has shown few of the advantages of pure branch- 
banking and it has exhibited numerous weaknesses. For 
one thing, the Interest in these outlying institutions has 
frequently been acquired at unjustifiably high prices 
by the key-bank in the chain or by the holding corpora- 
tion; and after the Interest has been secured, it has 
frequently proved not sufficiently controlling. Or other 
factors have developed to prevent the carrying out of 
the centralized policies which have made branch bank- 
ing In other countries effective. 

There Is a strong movement today looking towards 
some plan permitting branch-banking on an extensive 
scale. Only eight or nine of our States permit branch 
banking at all, so far as institutions chartered under 
the laws of those States are concerned. A few other 
States permit it, but with exceedingly limiting restric- 
tions. Hence branch-banking as a system has had 
slight chance of development in this country. 

The situation in Chicago and its suburbs, in the early 
months of 1932, was a striking example of the evils 
caused by restrictive State laws. Almost all the failures 
(nearly two hundred) of small suburban banks around 
Chicago, and almost all the resultant threats to the 
general banking situation, could have been avoided had 
it not been for the fact that the Illinois statutes permit 
no branch-banking of any kind within the limits of the 
State. It was quite impossible under the law for the 
large Chicago banks to attempt to serve, through 
branches, the important suburbs around the City. The 
lessons of such a situation must be glaringly obvious 
to the whole country. There is no present effective 
method under the law by which strong institutions in 
our leading financial centres can extend the benefit of 


their ample reserves, their experience and ordinarily 
careful management to the weaker in the out- 

lying districts. 

More remote districts throughout the country have 
blundered along in the same way, with the organization 
of weak and unsheltered banks in the hands of inex- 
perienced persons desiring the satisfaction of becoming 
"bankers"; with the result that the failures in recent 
years have been on such a wholesale scale that today 
there are estimated to be upwards of three thousand 
communities in this country completely stripped of 
banking facilities. We are confronted with the phe- 
nomenon of groups of strong institutions in our leading 
financial centres (particularly New York City) having 
in hand far more reserves than they normally require, 
but with some of the interior districts almost altogether 
lacking in credit facilities. 

How to form a bridge between these stores of ample 
credit resources, on the one hand, and these interior 
districts which, on the other hand 3 may be famishing 
for these stores, is a vital problem today. It is a prob- 
lem which is engaging the attention of the heads of the 
great Eastern institutions, but one which, without a 
radical revision of the banking laws, is quite impossible 
for them to work out 

Although there have occurred, especially in the last 
year, striking instances of mismanagement on the part 
of very sizable institutions located in large cities, yet 
that melancholy phenomenon is nothing like so com- 
mon as In the country banks. These well-known weak- 
nesses that, as I have just been pointing out, afflict our 
rural institutions, almost Inevitably lead, in a time of 
fear such as came upon our American communities in 
the autumn of 1931, to hoarding on a grand scale. 
This is always a distressing spectacle. One may de- 


plore the folly of the person who wishes to withdraw 
his funds from his bank and put the cash under his 
mattress. But one must, nevertheless, have great sym- 
pathy for such misguided persons. 

Our chief difficulty, then, as must be seen, is clearly 
not lack of governmental control, but rather failure 
of organization and coordination. I have already 
spoken of the confusion resulting from our varying 
Federal and State banking laws. In banking, our 
country has forty-nine different sovereigns. And, as 
many persons long ago pointed out, a constant state 
of competition exists between the Comptroller of the 
Currency at Washington and the forty-eight Banking 
Superintendents of our forty-eight States. Each one 
of these forty-nine officials is desirous of having as 
many institutions as possible registered under his juris- 
diction. The consequence is that, because of this com- 
petition, laxity creeps in. The Banking Department 
of a State may point out to the organizers of a new 
institution that the local State laws are less rigid and 
more liberal than the code of the Federal system. Thus, 
the State Superintendent may, in perfect good faith, 
be tempted to encourage men without sufficient capital 
or experience to engage in the banking business and to 
solicit the deposits of innocent citizens. Such laxity is 
more noticeable in Western and Southern States, but 
even in the Eastern States there have been deplorable 
banking failures, due perhaps not so much to defective 
laws as to defective administration of the existing laws. 

When all is said and done, it is astonishing to note 
how little judgment many people who have money 
show in their handling of it. If the ordinary citizen, 
with some cash in hand, were to receive a visit from an 
unknown person, and that person asked for a loan at 
6 per cent, without security, the first man would laugh 


at the and tern from his door. But if the 

unknown person around the corner and opens 
a place with the word "Bank" over the door, and with 
a little interior decoration of oak and marble and brass, 
our worthy citizen dashes In there and leaves on de- 
posit (which Is In effect the same thing as making a 
loan) all the cash he has in the world, without security 
and at a rate of 2 or 3 per cent Interest. 

Our Congress and our various legislative committees 
can continue indefinitely to hold hearings and collect 
volumes of testimony, thereafter passing further new 
sets of laws. Yet they will never come to the root of 
the evil until they realize that no banking system can 
function adequately when it comprehends within Itself 
only a limited portion of the banking community* 
Today sixty per cent. In number, of the country's banks 
are outside the strong Federal Reserve System, and 
this sixty per cent comprises a total, in banking re- 
sources, of $12,800,000,000. These lesser banking In- 
stitutions whose aggregate resources are nevertheless 
so considerable are unable or unwilling to come under 
the rules of the Federal Reserve System. Thus they 
lack both its restrictions and its safeguards. And the 
almost unbridled license which these small banks in 
some States apparently have outside the Federal Re- 
serve System, tempts them frequently, as the sad record 
has proved, to folly and disaster. 

It is not difficult to present a strong argument as to 
the advantage of having banking institutions in our 
interior towns that are entirely Independent of any 
larger banks, that are familiar with local conditions, 
and that render an excellent service to their communi- 
ties. There are thousands of such banks throughout 
the country, and I should be the last to deprecate their 
existence or to question the ability of the men who 


manage them. Nevertheless, In general one can surely 
say that our banking units should on the average be far 
larger than they are today. The small, under-capital- 
ized Institutions should be merged so as to gain the 
normal stability, diversity, economy and management 
of the larger concerns. 

One reason for the weakness of the interior bank is 
that Its overhead expenses are likely to be, propor- 
tionately, too heavy. The bank is tempted to pay too 
high rates of interest in order to attract deposits. Many 
of these local banks have, because of the rapid growth 
of business units, of communications and of motor 
transport, been left in a backwater where the better 
business passes them by. These up-country institutions 
have no opportunity to diversify and average their 
risks. If general conditions affect their investments 
unfavorably, the same conditions are likely to involve 
them in serious losses from their localized loans, and 
at the same time in disastrous deposit withdrawals. 

I am but repeating what many others have already 
pointed out, when I say that no thorough-going bank- 
ing reforms can be brought about until two vital 
changes have been accomplished. The first is to bring 
all the commercial banks of the country, small as well 
as large, under the single aegis of the Federal Reserve 
System. The second is to establish sensible provisions 
for regional branch-banking, the geographical limits 
of each region to be carefully worked out and systema- 
tized. Then we should have something worth talking 
about. Such reforms, brought about gradually, ought 
to begin to yield to the country some measure of bank- 
ing stability. 

The readers of this chapter may ask why a volume 
upon Henry P. Davison, whose earthly days were ended 
ten years ago, should have so much to say as to con- 


of present-day in United 

of America. The answer Is I have wished to 

clear certain analogies between the situation pre- 
vailing IE Ms day and the one still existing. He was 
wholly familiar with the country's unhappy history in 
banking and currency. His effort for reform and his 
contribution to It were made In the light of his own 
study of the past, of his own personal experience, and 
of his clear prevision that the country's efforts for Im- 
provement must be unceasing. During all his thirty- 
six years of banking, Davlson was thinking and work- 
ing on these problems. They formed the subject of his 
dally converse with his associates; they were a vital 
part of his life. In his last thirteen years as a private 
banker, his contact with current questions of Institu- 
tional banking was no longer official. Yet perhaps that 
was an advantage, in that he gained a more detached 
and objective point of view in the study and effort 
which he was giving to the country's banking problems. 

Now, despite the organization of the splendid Fed- 
eral Reserve System, which Davison labored so keenly 
and with such diligence to advance, we are still con- 
fronted with the same series of banking failures as in 
his time, only upon a larger scale. We are faced with 
the spectacle of improvident and reckless management, 
of Inadequate expert supervision. We witness the same 
tragedy of heavy losses which our grandfathers and 
great-grandfathers endured In another way, through 
the repudiation of note Issues by hundreds of banks In 
the first half of the nineteenth century. 

From this brief review, it must be apparent that the 
development of banking in America has been a slow 
process of evolution which has by no means reached Its 
end. Each of the banking crises to which I have 
alluded has taught the community some one lesson, but 


each new disaster has revealed a fresh weakness to be 
remedied. No pilgrim's progress could have been 
more arduous or beset with greater pitfalls. Such con- 
ditions, in one form or another, have plagued the coun- 
try for over a century in fact throughout almost its 
entire commercial life. Even now, the remedy will not 
be found overnight, either by this Congress or by the 
next The law will continue to evolve slowly, and, in 
a country as varying in its regional conditions as ours, 
the law must be subject to frequent amendment. 

And, too, there should be clear understanding as to 
the basis upon which the Federal Comptroller of the 
Currency and the Banking Superintendents of the vari- 
ous States grant charters for the establishment of new 
banks. We must come to regard a banking charter 
not as a privilege conferred upon a chosen few, or upon 
an unselected many, in order that they may make 
money with other people's money; but as a public 
trust, and in that sense, and in that sense only, as a 
"money trust" It is the plain duty of the community 
to see to it that the interest of the American people 
in the safety of their deposits, and of the whole coun- 
try in the sufficiency and soundness of our banking 
system, is put before the special interest of any bank 
or banker, great or small. 

The hope for progress towards real orderliness and 
stability lies, as it always does in these matters, in an 
aroused and intelligent public opinion, and in constant 
study by the experts of methods to strengthen the Fed- 
eral Reserve System. No person of intelligence, study- 
ing the actual workings of this System, can have failed 
to be impressed with the immeasurable benefits which 
it has brought to American industry and commerce. In 
the midst of the distress through which portions of the 
banking community have been passing in these last few 


years, the constructive accomplishments of our Federal 
Reserve Banks may have been somewhat lost sight of. 
Up to February of 1932, the System still lacked, 
the law, certain powers that it needed to render 
its scope of operation more elastic and practical. Such 
powers the central banks of other countries have al- 
ways possessed. Through the provisions of the Glass- 
Steagall law, passed early in 1932, somewhat similar 
powers were provided for the Federal Reserve System. 
Under these, the Federal Reserve System now has 
added authority wherewith to buttress the credit situ- 
ation. Yet the whole country is even now suffering 
from the disastrous results arising largely from the lack 
of coordination among our banks a lack due to the 
defects which still remain In our system. Even so it 
may be well for us to remember, in these difficult days 
through which we have been passing, this fact: in a 
dark and troublous world, America and the American 
dollar are still, as to material factors, the safest things 
in all the world to tie to. 


The need for larger banking units Advantages of consolidations 
The negotiations and plans through which the Guaranty Trust Com- 
pany of New York became the largest trust institution in the country 
ff Open covenants openly arrived at" 

THE banking mergers, in which Davison was active 
in his early years in J. P, Morgan & Co., were 
brought about, as stated in the introductory chapter, 
in response to several economic demands. One of these 
was the need for greater banking units to meet the 
rapidly increasing growth of industry and commerce ; 
a need which some years before had, in Great Britain, 
been recognized and met. Another was the need for 
greater concentration of executive talent. The money 
and banking panic of 1907 had revealed several weak 
spots in the banking structure of New York City, espe- 
cially as to certain of the trust companies which were 
lacking in years and in the tradition of prudence which 
years beget. 

It so happened that Thomas F. Ryan was one of 
those who observed some of these managerial defects 
in the trust companies which, during those gloomy 
autumn days of 1907, were under suspicion or on trial. 
Mr. Ryan had no immediate anxiety about the com- 
panies in which he himself was deeply interested ; all 
three of them (the Morton, the Guaranty, and the 
Fifth Avenue) were well entrenched in capital and re- 
serves. Yet he felt a sense of concern which he mani- 




IE his to get F. to 

Davison and allow to the of the 

Morton Trust Company, for whose successful manage- 
Mr. Ryan had made himself largely responsible. 
Falling In his purpose to secure Davison as the head 
of this company 3 Mr. Ryan not unnaturally welcomed 
the Idea of merging the resources and management of 
the Morton and the Guaranty Trust Companies espe- 
cially after the death of E. H. Harriman, In August of 
1909, had removed him, the largest single stockholder 
of the Guaranty, from the position of dominance In 
the Company's affairs. 

Davison entered the Morgan firm on January i, 
1909. And It was in the autumn of that year that 
J. Plerpont Morgan, his young partner, Davison, and 
Mr. Ryan began discussing the merger of the Guaranty 
and the Morton. The Guaranty had been formed 
under a special charter dating back to April 13, 1864, 
when it had the name of the New York Guaranty & 
Indemnity Company. It had had an inconspicuous 
business until November, 1891, when the Mutual Life 
Insurance Company purchased control of it and in- 
creased its capital to $2,030,000, installing as officers 
men trained In the Mutual Life school of conservatism, 
and arranging its directorate largely to conform to the 
directorate of the Mutual Life itself. 

When the Mutual Life people took command, the 
Company had practically no deposits; but under the 
ffigis of the great life insurance concern, the Trust Com- 
pany began to grow, and by the end of 1896, when it 
dropped its clumsy title and became the Guaranty 
Trust Company of New York, its capital, surplus, and 
undivided profits had risen to $4,598,319, and its de- 
posits to upwards of $ 12,000,000. Its growth continued 
steadily, and at the end of 1905, the year of the life 


Insurance Investigations conducted by Charles Evans 
Hughes, Its capital resources had increased to almost 
$8jOOOjOOO, and Its deposits to upwards of $41,000,000. 
It had become one of the five largest trust companies In 
the city; and it was paying 20 per cent dividends upon 
its capital stock. 

Then, following the life Insurance inquiry, came the 
legislation which directed the life insurance companies 
to dispose of their shares in the capital of banking In- 
stitutions. It was easier for the legislature to enact 
the statute than it was for the companies to carry It 
out, without serious loss to their policyholders. For it 
is not every day in the week that a purchaser turns up 
to buy blocks of bank stock, running into thousands of 
shares and quoted at several hundred dollars per share. 

So, : . it was not until Mr. Harriman made his offer 
that the Mutual was able to dispose of a controlling 
block of its Guaranty Trust Company shares. When 
his death, in 1909, made it manifest that these shares 
might come on the market, the control and prudent 
management of this great trust company became a mat- 
ter of public concern. By that time (say, as of Decem- 
ber 31, 1909) its capital resources had reached a figure 
of $10,605,152, and its deposits were almost $80,000,000. 
It was, even then, on the point of becoming the largest 
trust company in the country. That preeminence was 
attained in January, 1910, by absorption of the Morton 
and the Fifth Avenue Trust Companies. There was, as 
Mr. Ryan had pointed out, no insuperable difficulty in 
bringing about the proposed merger of the Guaranty 
and Morton Companies. They had several directors 
in common, including Levi P. Morton himself. 

The discussions as to the merger of the Guaranty 
and Morton Companies were nearing completion when 
Mr. Ryan raised the question of the inclusion of the 


Fifth Avenue Trust Company, at 430! Street 

Fifth Avenue. Here a not 

unnatural, because the Fifth Avenue Trust many 
shareholders and directors in common with the Morton 
Trust and, In a certain measure, with the Guaranty. 
The terms of merger were laid out in the first Instance 
by Harry Davlson. His knowledge of trust company 
business, gained from his constant work as chairman 
of the very active executive committee of the Bankers 
Trust Company, was clear and comprehensive. His 
policy was always to see that all Interests, minority as 
well as majority, were fully protected. So Mr. Morgan 
had no hesitation in approving his plan of merger. 
Mr. Ryan, speaking for the shareholders of the Morton 
and the Fifth Avenue, and closely in touch with those 
of the Guaranty, pronounced the plan fair. Thus It 
was submitted to the shareholders and promptly 

Upon completion of the triple merger, the figures 
of the new company's resources became as follows: 
Capital, $5,000,000; Surplus, $18,000,000; Undivided 
Profits, $3,013,000: a total of $26,013,000. Deposits 
amounted to $147,503,000. 

As a. matter of fact, the Morton Trust Company 
had itself been enlarged as long before as April 28, 
1900, by the absorption of the State Trust Company. 
Thus, after the larger merger of January, 1910, the 
Guaranty Trust Company was the resultant of the 
merging of four different trust companies. Then, two 
and a half years later, on October 16, 1912, it absorbed 
the Standard Trust Company, a prudently managed 
concern with $15,000,000 of deposits and an excellent 
corporate trust business. With that final merger com- 
pleted, the Guaranty Trust Company stood with capital 
resources of $33,324,000 and deposits of $189,300,000. 


his seat on the Guaranty Trust Com- 
on December 8, 1909, became chairman of 
the committee, and arranged on July i, 1910, 

for the installation, as senior vice-president, of Charles 
H. Sabin. Sabin, on January 20, 1915, succeeded, as 
president, Alexander J. Hemphill, who sat as chairman 
of the board of directors until his death. Davison re- 
a director of the Guaranty Trust Company 
and chairman of Its executive committee until January, 
1914. At that time, In line with the policy which the 
Morgan firm adopted, of reducing the number of direc- 
torships held by Its partners, Davison retired from the 
Guaranty board, and his place as chairman of the execu- 
tive committee was taken by me. 

The mere recital of the figures involved in these bank 
mergers falls far short of telling the story. The con- 
summation of them aroused, of course, the greatest 
Interest, not only In New York banking circles, but 
throughout the country. That the whole development 
was a natural and, perhaps, an inevitable one in the 
field of banking economics, has already been pointed out 
at the beginning of this chapter. Soundly conceived 1 
and excellently carried through, as these combinations 
were, they brought great additional prestige to Davi- 
son's already secure reputation. The manner of their 
planning and execution, "open covenants openly ar- 
rived at," also appealed strongly to Davison's senior 
partner who saw, In the recent acquisition which he 
had made for his firm, a type of mind and a habit of 
constructive planning that exactly suited him. 

It may be added that in the instance of these banking 
mergers, as in those centring about the Bankers Trust 
Company described in an earlier chapter, the Morgan 
firm received no fee or compensation for its services in 
negotiating the intricate terms of the mergers. Such 


as to the as la any of 

the to all stock- 


Davison's soo s Harry, Jr., has recalled a family anec- 
dote that may form a not inappropriate conclusion to 
account of bank mergers. "One Eight in the later 
years of his life," as young Harry relates^ "Father woke 
Mother up and said he just a terrible night- 

mare. He thought he was back in the bank at Troy 
and could not balance the books, and that his uncle 
told him he had to balance them or get a horse-whip- 
ping. Still, they would not balance, and Father was in 
a cold sweat When Mother asked him how it came 
outj he said: S I finally solved the problem; I bought 
the bank. 1 " 


of ign The Carnegie Trust Company failure 

Twelfth and Nineteenth Ward Banks in serious difficulties 

Tie to the Morgan firm The late Mr. Morgan's generous 

attitude Davisn*s work in saving the institutions 

under fire 

LTHOUGH the amounts Involved would. In these later 
days of vast figures, be considered small, the 
troubles arising out of the runs made early in the year 
1911, upon the Nineteenth Ward Bank and upon the 
Twelfth Ward Bank, were as difficult to meet as could 
be Imagined. In the solution finally reached, Davison 
was a great factor, and In all the preliminary discus- 
sions he was, as usual, most active. I recall vividly the 
beginning of the difficulty. It grew out of the trouble 
in which the Carnegie Trust Company found itself In 
the late days of 1910, which trouble culminated in the 
closing of Its doors, early In January, 1911. 

Some epigrammatic Individuals used to say the Car- 
eegle Trust Company was conceived in sin and born in 
iniquity. This was a strong statement, but certainly 
it was true that, in the original conception of its pro- 
moters and In their management and methods, the 
Carnegie Trust Company had, from the start, little 
excuse for existence. Andrew Carnegie, of course, had 
nothing to do with the active organization of the Com- 
pany. He subscribed to a moderate amount of its 
stock, on the representation that the Company had 


I2 3 

be It Is a pity 

Mr. Carnegie, his strong of busi- 

ness led to allow his name to 

be to institution. Then^ too, Leslie M. 

who, for a time, had been Secretary of the 
Treasury under President McKinley, was induced to 
the presidency of the Institution, his name giv- 
ing to the public additional assurance of security, Mr. 
Shaw a perfectly honest man, himself, but he found 
plunged Into heavy waters that were far beyond 
his depth. 

Soon, a group made up largely of out-of-town pro- 
moters secured an effective control of the Company. 
They then proceeded to run the Institution upon a 
promoting basis, paying recklessly high interest rates 
In order to attract deposits, and welcoming business of 
rather doubtful character. Among other plans, the 
group decided to form a working connection with two 
theretofore Inconspicuous, uptown banks, known re- 
spectively as the Nineteenth Ward Bank and the 
Twelfth Ward Bank. The first was located at 242 
East 86th Street, and the second at 173 East n6th 
Street and 1925 Third Avenue. These were small in- 
stitutions, but perfectly respectable; between them 
they had five branches. At the head of the first-named 
was Bradley Martin, Jr., a son-in-law of Henry Phipps. 
Mr. Martin's Integrity and purposes could not be ques- 
tioned ; In fact, his straightforward course when trouble 
finally came was above praise. But he laid no claim to 
wide experience in banking. He and the management 
of the Twelfth Ward Bank failed to understand that 
the Carnegie Trust Company was looked upon askance 
by the prudent portion of the community, and that any 
connection between the Carnegie Trust Company and 
his two small banks might redound to the discredit of 


the So, various ill-secured loans 

by the group found their way Into 

the the Twelfth Ward Banks. 

The of all this that, when in December, 

the Carnegie Trust Company finally began to 
before Its crash on January 7, 1911, the 
to flash In the regions where the 
and the Twelfth Ward banks were situated. 
I the first rumblings of thunder which came 

to ES at 23 Wall Street. William H. Porter and I had 
members of J. P. Morgan & Co. on January 
i, 1911. Being the newest members of the firm, we 
got down to the office early, on the Monday morn- 
lag of January 2 ? our first day there. But we did not 
arrive as early as did the legal doctors, who had been 
called In to diagnose the malady beginning to afflict the 
Nineteenth Ward and the Twelfth Ward Banks. The 
symptom of it was a silent run on the deposits of both 

Paul Cravath and Bradley Martin, Jr., were waiting 
for uSj and Mr. Cravath acted as spokesman. He said 
that he knew that neither the elder Mr. Morgan nor 
any of his partners had the slightest personal interest 
la these two small banks; and that those who were 
responsible for their conduct had no right to approach 
Mr. Morgan, except on the ground that he had shown 
himself ready, many times before, to perform a public 
service. He, Cravath, felt that Mr. Morgan was the 
only man In town who could stave off what otherwise 
would be a catastrophe, not in the total of dollars in- 
volved, but In the comfort and happiness of a large 
number of people. Cravath had had no connection 
whatsoever with any of these Institutions, but had 
simply been asked to co-operate. 

We asked Cravath what he meant Cravath replied 


to the of uptown 

the Carnegie Trust Company, runs were al- 
ready that while their cash 
probably out for a few days, they 
not withstand the run for a longer time; 
if they were forced to close their doors the thou- 
sands of depositors would lose their savings. 

Cravath hoped, but frankly stated that he was by 
BO sore, that the available assets of the two 

furnished adequate basis for a loan to them. We 
over the last balance sheets made up by the two 
Mr. Porter asked some pointed questions 
as to the character of the various assets. After Presi- 
Martin had answered these questions, It became 
perfectly apparent, as Porter pointed out, that no con- 
siderable loan could, with real safety, be made to the 
Institutions. Therefore^ both Porter and I felt that, 
as J. P. Morgan & Co. were not purely an eleemosynary 
institution (although, as later events proved, It was in 
this Instance largely such an one), there was nothing 
we could do to help the situation. However, Mr. 
Porter called up the elder Mr. Morgan on the tele- 
phone and briefly explained the situation to him, add- 
ing that he saw no way In which we could safely help. 
"Walt a moment, Porter,' 5 said Mr. Morgan. "How 
many depositors have these two banks?" 

Porter turned to Martin for an answer. "About 
thirty thousand, 5 ' was the reply, which Porter gave 
over the telephone to Mr. Morgan. 

"And what is the character of them?" asked the 

"Mostly Eastslders, working people, small trades- 
men, dressmakers, persons whose little all is on deposit 
in our banks," was Mr. Martin's response, again re- 
peated to Mr. Morgan. 


41 Well/ 1 the "some way must be found to 

people. We mustn't let them lose all 

in the world. Suppose that, at worst, we 

to the payment of these deposits In 

You say the Is only $6,000,000. That means 

the can 1 ! lose more than $65000,0005 doesn't 


I utterance of the late Mr. Morgan 

knowing he will not be misunderstood as having 
suggested that $6,000,000 was a trifling sum for the 
to for, in fact, from that point of view, It was 
a very great sum only to show the extraordinary im- 
pulse that always was in Mr. Morgan's mind, to try 
to people out of difficulties, regardless of the cost 
to himself, I have never visloned a man with such a 
sense of community responsibility as Mr. Mor- 

In this interview with Porter, Mr. Morgan went into 
further detail, and explained that the only con- 
dition he would lay down, as precedent to the granting 
of assistance, was that the firm should have no possible 
interest in the shares of the Banks. I mention this con- 
dition of his, as bearing upon the muckraking stories 
that appeared in some newspapers a little later, after 
Mr. Morgan's action had resulted In saving the situa- 
tion. Some of these newspaper stories pictured the 
event as: "Morgan Gobbles up More Banks." 

As a matter of fact, matters ran along all that week 
without any explosion, until the closing of the Car- 
negie Trust Company's doors on Saturday, January 7. 
The runs upon the Twelfth Ward and the Nineteenth 
Ward Banks had steadily continued, and at the time 
of their closing for business on Saturday, it had become 
apparent that the runs would, with the announced fail- 
ure of the Carnegie, become more intense than ever on 

BANKS 127 

the Monday Indeed, their cash 

had and Superintend- 

ent of the Banking Department, had 

notice material assistance were 

available^ he could not permit these two banks 
to their doors on the morning of Monday, Jan- 

9. He was naturally anxious to see the Banks 
help continue in business. He could not 
readily forget, with the 1907 panic still a fresh memory, 
the inflammable nature of a bank run and the quick- 
with which the flames could leap from institution 
to institution. 

The trouble was to find some one man, or set of men, 
who would undertake the responsibility of looking 
after the situation. The stockholders of the two banks 
were thoroughly alarmed, but few of them were pre- 
pared to do what, they feared, would be merely sending 
good money after bad. The time was too short, with 
only twenty-four hours left, to enable anybody to do 
much running about town In order to get the various 
interests to agree to any plan of salvation. 

So, after full discussion with the Banking Superin- 
tendent and with his approval, Davison and Cravath 
finally decided to ask all the parties at interest to forego 
their usual Sunday worship and recreation and spend 
the day at Cravath's city house, in an endeavor to get 
together. A. B. Hepburn, then Chairman of the Clear- 
ing House Committee, also lent his active aid. Thus 
it came about that a series of all-day and all-night 
conferences was held at the home of Paul Cravath; 
and it was in these conferences that Davison's par- 
ticular qualities of persuasiveness and skill again came 
to the fore. The situation was one that appealed 
strongly to Davison. He had the same generous im- 
pulse that always marked the senior member of the 


my in always evoked Davisoifs 

and he pictured, Just as Mr. Morgan did, 
and garment workers on the 
all they had. 

Therefore, he was determined to leave no stone un- 
turned In a solution. A solution, however, was 
to find. It was felt that certain of the stock- 
of two banks, solvent individuals, should 
be more anxious to help save the Banks than 
J. P. Morgan & Co., who were moved by general 
than by material considerations. The afternoon 
tad at Mr. Cravath ! s house were spent in an 
endeavor to reconcile the conflicting, or rather diver- 
points of view. Some of the interested persons 
present seemed to think that it was J. P. Morgan & 
Co.'s sole business to save lost banking souls, and that, 
therefore, the exclusive duty of salvaging those two 
banks might be laid upon their door-step. Let me pic- 
ture the scene at Cravath *s house in the words of George 
Case, whose law firm was acting for the Superintendent 
of Banks, and who had been from the start active in the 
conferences : 

"The programme was outlined by Mr. Cravath with 
the Superintendent of Banks, Davison and several law- 
yers on the top floor, in Mr. Cravath's library. One 
or the other of us was running out, now and then, to 
consult with some other group. When the plan was 
finally put into shape, Davison circulated with it from 
one group to the other, meeting objections here and re- 
fusals there, making it necessary for him to come back 
and consult frequently with the controlling group in 
the Cravath library. It became apparent to him, and 
to all of us, that nothing could be done unless J. P. 
Morgan & Co. would authorize a strong statement and 
back it by assuring the Superintendent of Banks of 

I2 9 

the of so he not 

be to the two This was such an 

step felt it necessary to see Mr. 

personally, explain how matters stood, 

get his approval. 

**Some o^clock In the evening, Davi- 

SOE and I got Into a taxicab and went down to Mr. 
Morgan's home on Madison Avenue. The object of 
the visit was to explain what had been developed, and 
to out If Mr. Morgan would be willing to aid in 
the situation. Davison went in to see Mr. Morgan 
while I waited In an adjoining room. A specific object 
of the visit was to obtain Mr. Morgan's approval of a 
proposed public statement, and Davison had a draft 
of it I heard Davison begin to summarize the situa- 
tion to Mr. Morgan. The latter, In his deep tones, 

" *Davison, I don't care to see the paper. Whatever 
you think Is right I will approve, but, whatever hap- 
pens, don't let those poor people lose their money. 5 

"This was all, and we came away. Then followed, 
at Mr. Cravath's house, a further series of conferences 
which lasted most of the night, resulting in final agree- 
ment on a programme. It was most essential that the 
morning papers should carry a reassuring statement, 
and it was due to Davison's persistence and persuasive 
efforts that the various frightened or sulky groups were 
persuaded to agree, so that the statement could be 
handed to the waiting reporters, at the very last pos- 
sible moment, in the early hours of Monday morning, 
January 9, 1911. It was Mr. Cravath who skilfully 
assembled the various groups in different parts of his 
house, and modelled the plan. It was Davison who 
brought about the agreement, made possible the pub- 


of the undoubtedly saved the two 

Not a lost a cent" 

declared that If the sum of $5005- 

in were furnished to the Nineteenth Ward 

IE cash to the Twelfth Ward Bank ? 

to take the place of the doubtful assetSj 

the stock of both banks would stand intact. 

representations, Davlson and Porter prom- 

on behalf of J. P. Morgan & Co., that the firm 

render financial assistance, and a statement to 

effect, as narrated by Case, was transmitted to the 

reporters, and to the anxious representatives 

of the State Banking Superintendent, who were close 

at This statement read as follows : 

At the time of the failure of the Carnegie Trust 
Company, certain members of Its Board were also 
Directors of the Madison Trust Company, the Nine- 
teenth Ward Bank and the Twelfth Ward Bank. 
Fearing that the announcement of this fact might 
lead some of the depositors of these institutions to 
withdraw deposits, the Superintendent of Banks 
promptly took up the situation with prominent bank- 
ing interests. After a conference held on Saturday 
and continued on Sunday, J. P. Morgan & Co. 
authorized the following statement: 

Understanding that arrangements have been made for the 
absorption bj merger of the Madison Trust Company by the 
Equitable Trust Company, J. P. Morgan & Co. have agreed 
to provide financial assistance to the Nineteenth Ward Bank and 
the Twelfth Ward Bank 

J. P. MORGAN & Co. 

It was expected that a heavier run than ever would 
start, early the next morning, at both the institutions. 
This expectation was well founded, for a long row of 

they were waiting 

In the at ten o'clock. But the 

ready for them. Further- 
the line Its way up to the 

the of the Twelfth Ward Bank 

by seeing the following notice: 



F. B. FRENCH, President. 

Such a sweeping promise as this was going beyond 
that our firm, in its authorized statement, had 
promised ; but Mr. Morgan, when he was Informed of 
the noticCy remarked that he supposed that now, at 
all events, the firm would have to see the trouble 

As a result of the arrangement reached at the all-day 
all-night conference, in which Davison was so ac- 
tive, the firm agreed to find an amount of $700,000 for 
the Nineteenth Ward Bank. But before this sum was 
exhausted the run had been broken, and the Bank was, 
a few days later, in position to repay the loan. 

In the case of the Twelfth Ward Bank, the firm un- 
dertook to arrange advances to the extent of $400,000, 
and the run upon that bank was ended. Soon there- 
after, however, an examination of the Bank by the 
Banking Department of the State of New York showed 
a shrinkage in assets so great as to create an impairment 
of the capital stock. By this time, fortunately, the 
affairs of both banks had quieted down. The mere 
announcement that J. P. Morgan & Co. were showing 
a willingness to stand in the gap had reassured deposi- 
tors. But a great deal remained to be done; for it was 
apparent that these two banks could not be relied upon 


to to their affairs prudently, and 

must be made. 

of conference followed, the firm's hae- 
of the In charge of Mr. Porter. The 

the Fourteenth Street Bank was 
and enlarged, so as to take In the Nine- 
and the Twelfth Ward Banks ; Its capital stock 
was for that purpose; and Its name changed 

to the Security Bank. It was arranged that the In- 
capital was to be underwritten In equal shares 
by James G. Cannon, of the Fourth National Bank, 
and Bradley Martin, Jr.; and, In order to facilitate the 
Mr, Porter promised Mr. Cannon that, in 
Ac latter desired it, we would assist by making 
a to Mr. Cannon against the stock of the new 

This loan, however^ Mr. Cannon never required. 
The wind-up of the matter was that the Security Bank 
over the situation ; and the Madison Trust Com- 
pany, which had been under heavy fire, was absorbed 
by the Equitable Trust Company. 

So far as the firm of J. P. Morgan & Co. was con- 
ceraed, the result was satisfactory enough. To the 
elder Mr. Morgan, to Davison and Porter and the 
others of the firm active In this affair, It was not a 
matter of great consequence if the public failed to 
realize all the facts. At least, they had the satisfaction 
of knowing that the firm's action on January 8, 1911, 
the liability that It undertook, the announcement that 
it then made, had resulted in preserving the savings of 
twenty or thirty thousand persons of extremely limited 
means. The actual, final loss which the Morgan firm 
suffered, from Its undertakings in various forms, aside 
from the extraordinary amount of time and energy ex- 
pended, was $190,000 or thereabouts. 
To a newcomer, like myself, into Mr. Morgan's offi- 


clai the was extraordinarily 11- 

Here a I, like most of the 

rest of the world, had of, almost always, in 

of the great and successful man of affairs, en- 
gaged constantly in measures of large impor- 
In the working out of plans of great moment to 
the well-being of the county plans in which ? 
properly necessarily, handsome compensation for 
his would be provided. Yet here was an entirely 
side 5 a new picture -that of a man who will- 
subjected himself to criticism and risk, if only he 
be instrumental in helping a large group of 
no one of whom ever had crossed his path, or 
ever would. Is it surprising that such a man com- 
the admiration and complete devotion of his 



upon ike late Mr. Morgan Unfounded 

of the of credit The financier's appearance 

the Committee His convincing testimony 

in preparing for the hearing His own clarifying 


FIT^HE elder Mr. Morgan's strength was undoubtedly 
JL heavily sapped by the strain which he underwent 
In the so-called "Money Trust Investigation," con- 
ducted by the Subcommittee of the Committee on 
Banking and Currency, of the House of Representa- 
tives, of which Congressman Arsene Paulin Pujo of 
Louisiana was chairman and to which Samuel Unter- 
myer was counsel. There can be no doubt that Mr. 
Morgan suffered severely from the innuendoes and 
semi-accusations that were made against him and his 
firm at the time of this inquiry. His partners realized 
this keenly, none more than Harry Davison who, 
throughout the whole inquiry, exerted himself to the 
utmost to relieve Mr, Morgan. 

Never before in his long life of high purpose and 
achievement had anyone impugned Mr. Morgan's mo- 
tives or cast doubt upon the uprightness of his deal- 
ings. In fact, for years it had been an axiom of the 
financial world that the chief reason for Mr. Morgan's 
power was the complete trust which the financial 
community had in him a trust not in the infallibility 
of his judgment, which was human like other men's, 
but in the integrity of his motives and the straightfor- 



of his Therefore, to have the very 

of his assailed cot 

to the It In vain that his friends pointed 

out were pressed by men un- 

familiar actual conditions in the world of affairs, 

and on by a kind of popular clamor that was 

manufactured. I think Mr. Morgan realized 
as fully as his friends did. But that knowl- 
not to lessen his sense of mortification and 

Nor did the fact that he emerged from the Investlga- 
triumphant and In higher public esteem than ever 
serve to tranquillize Mr. Morgan's feelings. An 
modest man, he had been thrust Into the 
box and asked to display to the public eye his 
innermost thoughts as to the conduct of his affairs. 
Perhaps^ secure as he was in his own sense of right, 
he should have been more philosophical, less thin- 
skinned. But there it was! He was an aging man who 
over many decades had done great deeds, as the public 
readily acknowledged, in upbuilding the Industrial and 
commercial life of the American community. And yet 
at the end of such a life he was being held up, as he 
felt, to suspicion and obloquy. 

Finally all the furor died away, and he sailed away 
for the last time to his beloved Egypt But his life 
was over. For no apparent cause and on account of 
no discernible ailment, his energy left him ; and on his 
return journey from the Nile he had hardly reached 
Rome before he collapsed and died. 

But perhaps his grandsons will live to say that it 
was all worth while. Perhaps they will feel that in 
those last harassed months of his life he gave the Amer- 
ican people something that they had never clearly had 
before a realistic conception of the motives which 


of affairs, the late Mr. Mor- 
gan, and of the principles upon which all sound bosi- 
progress In this world must rise or 
For of Mr. Morgan's, from the 

at Washington, uttered by him in entire 
of their pregnancy and power, have 
down the years ever since. I, for one ? 
forget their effect as I heard them uttered. 
Here are of them, the italics being mine; 

Ci No, Sir, the first thing is character." That was in 
to Counsel's thesis that credit was "based 
primarily on money or property. 1 ' 
Mr. Untermyer: "Before money or property?" 
Mr. Morgan: "Before money or anything else. 

cannot buy if/" 

Mr, Untermyer: "So that a man with character, 
anything at all behind it, can get all the credit 
he wants, and the man with the property cannot get 

Mr. Morgan : "That is very often the case." 
Mr. Untermyer: "But is that the rule of business?" 
Mr. Morgan : "That is the rule of business, Sir." 
The idea that all business is based on confidence, on 
trust, seemed slow in dawning on the members of the 
Committee. They were still puzzled when Mr. Morgan 
added : "A man I do not trust could not get money from 
me on all the bonds in Christendom." 
And again: 

Mr. Untermyer: "Is not that [namely, the obtain- 
ing of credit] because it is believed that they have the 
money back of them?" 

Mr. Morgan : "No, Sir : it is because people believe 
in the man" 

Precisely what it was that first raised the hue and 


cry a trust,* 1 ever knew. But 

It was the of 1912, 

and still the There a 

of constructive consolidations in New 

City, the very already described 

in volume. And busybodies, never having 

the necessity of building larger banking 

to the increasing demands of larger business, 

the cry that there was too much concentration 

of capital and that this meant too much con- 

of credit, that is, the power to grant credit, 

in a few hands. Then somebody else got up a 

of so-called "interlocking directorates." The 

theory, sought to be established by such a table, was 

this: If John Jones Is a director of the United States 

Steel Corporation and also of the First National Bank; 

and If Sam Smith Is a director of the First National 

Bank and also of the New York Central Railroad ; and 

If Ben Brown is a director of the New York Central 

Railroad and also of the Atchlson Railroad ; then these 

three gentlemen become automatically "interlocking" ; 

and ipso facto become animated with the same motives, 

and conspire together to a common end probably a 

"sinister" one! 

By such a scheme, the maker of tables and graphs 
was able, by using concentric circles so to speak, to 
extend his "interlocking directorates" at will and al- 
most Indefinitely. In fact, the original preamble and 
House resolution, under which the Committee acted, 
put forward the theory that a small group of men 
centred in New York City "wielded a power over 
the business, commerce, credits and finances of the 
country that Is despotic and perilous, and Is daily be- 
coming more perilous to the public welfare." Thus the 
so-called money trust was arraigned, with little regard 

ijg P. 

for by newspapers individuals, 

oa the of the House's action. As for Samuel 

Counsel to the Committee^ he naturally 
an campaign In the endeavor to es- 

tablish the set up In the Committee's resolution. 

It apparent to the late Mr. Morgan, 

la his seventy-sixth year, that some of the out- 
accomplishments of his whole life were to be 
to an Inquiry designed to misinterpret and 
them. Standing as close as he did to the end 
of his active career, the prospect of such an attack upon 

his house was singularly depressing. 
Davlson s who had been In the firm then not quite 
years, stopped one morning on his way down town 
to confer with his senior partner at Mr. Morgan's 
home. He found him puzzled and disturbed by the 
direction and animus of the Inquiry, and he determined 
forthwith to do everything possible to relieve Mr. Mor- 
gan In the work of preparing for the ordeal. During 
of the fall of 1912, then, Davison and I, whose 
aid he invoked, gave the bulk of our working time to 
the preparation of the necessary data. With his charac- 
teristic thoroughness, Davison took charge of the or- 
ganization necessary to bring together the great amount 
of Information and figures for which the Committee, 
through Mr. Untermyer, called from time to time. In 
this work we were assisted from day to day by George 
Case, by Richard Llndabury, and occasionally by other 
lawyers, not for the purpose of giving us technical 
advice, but to enable us to go the greatest possible dis- 
tance, with fairness to our clients, in responding to the 
detailed Inquiries of the Committee. 

Inasmuch as neither Mr. Morgan nor his partners 
had anything to conceal, they naturally made every 
effort to comply thus fully with the Committee's de- 


and far In excess of that re- 

It a foregone con- 

the Mr. Morgan would be called 

to testify, Davlson's efforts were directed 

spared as much as possible, by sub- 
beforehand, and by assuming 
the responsibility of dealing, at his own antici- 
pated appearance before the Committee, with the more 
which the Committee was likely 
to press. 

All effort and preparation were not in vain. The 
is a well known chapter In Congressional his- 
tory. Mr. Morgan appeared before the Committee in 
December, 1912. In his examination, which lasted the 
part of two days, he handled himself frankly 
and admirably. Some of the "high spots 55 of his test!- 
are those quoted above. Because of the unique 
character of some of these pregnant phrases, and be- 
cause they came with such unconscious dramatic force 
from a man like Mr. Morgan, they were soon being 
repeated and favorably commented upon by news- 
papers and journals all over the country. It is not too 
much to say that they made a profound impression, and 
went far to dispel much of the fog and miasma In which 
the detractors of so-called "big business" had tried to 
envelop the natural transactions of banks and bankers, 
with the Idea that the public, seeing these transactions 
through this gloomy haze, would gain a distorted idea 
of what It was all about 

Mr. Untermyer, whose theory was that Mr. Morgan 
was the head and front of the whole so-called money 
trust, did his utmost to get Mr. Morgan (and later 
Davison) to give such testimony as would go to bear 
out his ideas. For example, Counsel to the Committee 
asked a series of questions, the purpose of which was to 

i 4 o P. DAVISON 

Mr. personally, directed 

the and of all banking Institutions 

In sat as The further Implication 

le gaining detailed In- 
for their uses, as to the operations of 


When this wholly novel theory was suggested to the 

Mr. Morgan on the witness stand, he retorted: 

u can not, In a bank In which you are a director 

not In irst-class bank, at any rate go and find 

out I have got in that bank." 

Mr. Morgan's purchase from Thomas F. Ryan of 

the of the Equitable Life Insurance Society was 

subject upon which the Committee's counsel 

all his guns to bear. From his reiterated ques- 

It seemed Indeed difficult for him to realize what 

the fact, namely that Mr. Morgan had locked up 

several million dollars of good money, not for the sake 

of profit but so as to be certain that, In his hands, the 

of that great life Insurance company would be 

conserved for the benefit of the Company's policy 


Mr. Untermyer : "I am trying to find out where the 
money was in it [that Is in Mr. Morgan's purchase of 
Equitable Life shares] at one-ninth of one per cent 
return. 15 

Mr. Morgan (a little later) : (C I know nothing about 
that. Sir. I am willing to take the criticism or the 
credit, or whatever It may be, of the transaction. I 
only say this: that I did it because I thought it was 
the thing to do; and that is the only reason I had, 
and the only thing I can say." 

Davison appeared before the Committee on January 
23, 1913. Like Mr. Morgan, the younger man, by his 
broadminded attitude before the Committee and his 


and dear of the facts, did 

to the of the country In Its out- 

His matter-of-fact ex- 

far to throw a true accurate light 

the skilfully data^ with which the Pujo 

attempted to support the assertion that a 

of money power enabled a comparatively 

number of individuals to "control" corporations 

aggregated approximately twenty-five bil- 


Only once did a serious issue develop. Counsel to 
the Committee insisted again and again upon an an- 
swcr, which Davison declined as firmly to give, in re- 
to the exact manner in which J. P. Morgan & 
Co. handled the funds of interstate corporations, de- 
with them. In the end, a critical situation, 
possibly requiring a test of the Committee's authority, 
was adroitly avoided by the inquisitor who altered his 
questions so as to draw out the statement that the policy 
followed by the firm was simply such that it always 
maintained itself in a position to pay out its deposits 
immediately upon demand. With this answer Counsel 
was at length satisfied. Before leaving the stand, Davi- 
son submitted to the Committee a short statement sum- 
marizing and supplementing his testimony. In this he 
took occasion to point out that serious financial dis- 
turbances were inevitable under the country's then ex- 
isting unscientific banking system, and he pledged the 
cooperation of the Morgan firm in any plan designed 
to secure a sounder and more stable system. 

Following up the favorable impression made by the 
testimony before the Committee and Davison's written 
statement, the firm made public, a month later, a com- 
prehensive letter to Chairman Pujo in which, at his 
Invitation, It supplemented the inquiry by presenting 

I 4 2 P. 

the of 

and of and credit. This 

to of any which 

in regard to the assomp- 
the "Money Trust" inquiry had been 
and the whole incident to a close. Oc- 

casion in this letter to urge again the estab- 

by the country of a scientific banking system, 
an development, it ought to be added, which 

no by the publicity given to the 

in the proceedings of the Committee. Eighteen 
later the Federal Reserve System was estab- 

in operation. 

In whole episode, which sadly enough confused 
clouded the closing months of his life, Mr. Morgan 
showed the great confidence which he reposed in 
Davison. From the date of Davison's entry into the 
he had an extraordinary influence with his senior, 
an influence based upon that same feeling of mutual 
trust that Mr, Morgan himself felt was the basis of all 
correct human relations. Some of the late Mr. Mor- 
gan's associates stood in such awe of him that they were 
sometimes hardly at their best with him. Davison, on 
the other hand, while possessing the most profound 
respect and an unbounded admiration for the head of 
the house, was never better in approach and presenta- 
tion than when he was with his senior. Davison had 
much of that same instinct for the right, the sure course, 
that Mr. Morgan had. Mr. Morgan did not spell out 
his theories. His judgments may have always been 
logically thought out, but to his partners they seemed 
so swift as to be instinctive. As he said to the Pujo 
Committee, In reference to the Equitable Life purchase, 
he felt it was the "right thing to do," and that was the 
end of it "I have given you, from my heart, the exact 

TRUST" 143 

he u from the 


were the same. Perhaps 

is the reason why the men were congenial. 
In the four years that Davison was a member of the 
prior to Mr. Morgan's death, he came more and 
to be Mr. Morgan's point of contact with the 
world of affairs. The Senior was coming less 
less frequently to the office. He was withdrawing 
active participation In the conduct of outside 
affairs. He was leaving to his son> the present head of 
the house, and to Davison, the formulation of firm poli- 
cies. To the latter, with his wide acquaintance and 
dally contact with all sorts of financial activities, he 
largely looked to keep him advised of developments, 
and then to talk over with him the firm's plans which 
were to be shaped by such developments. 

And Davlson's admiration of the firm's untarnished 
record for probity, as established and preserved pri- 
marily by Its senior member, was unreserved and com- 
plete. At the Pujo Inquiry Counsel to the Committee 
was attempting to set up the theory that, in some par- 
ticular railroad transaction, J. P. Morgan & Co. had 
failed to do Its duty in protecting some minority in- 
terest Although the transaction in question took place 
years before Davlson's entry Into the firm, he vigorously 
denied that there could have been any possibility of 
any intentional Injustice. 

Mr. Untermyer: "In other words, you know that 
J. P. Morgan & Co. could do no wrong?" 

Mr. Davlson: "I know that J. P. Morgan & Co. 
could do no wrong, If their endeavors and the circum- 
stances permitted them to do as they wanted to do." 
Davison was making no claim that the firm was not 
as fallible as anybody else in its judgments. But from 

144 P. 

his his in all his 

life his participation 

for in the he was convinced 

as faith 

be no To the as a whole, just as to its 

to its heady he attributed com- 

He wasn't as to his belief. He 

was and glad. Later again to Mr. 

he : U I said there would not have 

if J. P. Morgan & Co. could 

prevented it. ... I do not know 

the did it [a transaction dating back five 

Davison entered the firm] but if the house 

did it, it is defensible." 

to the Committee, in the course of inquiry 
of DavisoEj came back repeatedly to the fantastic 
theory the Morgan firm exercised "control" over 
and individuals; exercising such control 
either by direction or by influence; by the granting of 
favors or by the threat of withholding them. 

Mr. Untermyer: l; Have you tried it ["controlling 
those banks"]?" 

Mr. Davison: "No. We are too wise to try it." 
Mr. Untermyer: "You are too wise. Even if you 
owned the bank, you would be too wise to try to con- 
trol it?"' 

Mr. Davison: "We could not control it ... in 

The Committee took little part in the questioning, 
the members contenting themselves by following coun- 
sePs inquiries. But they all leaned forward with in- 
terest when Mr. Untermyer attempted to develop his 
theory of Morgan control. He took up the question 
of competition, competition in railway transportation 
and in banking. Davison had advanced the idea, sur- 


to the to its counsel, one 

to a competitor, 

the italics are 

Mr. Untermyer: "To a competitor?'' 

Mr. Davison: "I should think so." 

Mr. Untermyer: "Is the principle on which 

is doing business now?" 

Mr. Davison: 4i Very frequently." 

Mr. Untermyer: "That Is strengthening your com- 
petitors? 11 

Mr. Davison : "Very frequently, or endeavoring to." 

Mr. Untermyer again: "Endeavoring to strengthen 
your competitors?" 

Mr. Davison: "Very frequently." 

And here was another revelation to the Committee 
to the public of the principle, which had for years 
guided the Morgan firm, of not only not attempting to 
secure all the desirable business In sight, but of de- 
liberately directing to other banking houses, competi- 
tors, It might be, various kinds of financial or banking 
business. Possibly this practice forms one of the rea- 
sons why ? In an emergency or crisis calling for action 
to protect the public interested, the Morgan firm has 
seemed to be able to command wide and instant co- 
operation and support from the banking community 
as a whole. 

In the statement which Davison requested me to 
prepare, and which he filed upon the conclusion of his 
testimony, the question of "Interlocking directorates" 
and concentration of control was touched upon at some 
length. It may be worth while to reprint the first 
few paragraphs of this statement, as follows : 

There have been presented to your Committee 
elaborate" tables from which it has been inferred 

i 4 6 P. 

mad in as "proved" that a 

"controls 11 the of cor- 

are twenty-five 

No and no such deduction can 

be these tables. 

made such deductions have 

errors ; they fail to observe^ first, 
that of the number of directorates In these par- 
corporations this group represents only about 
; second, that, upon this assumption, these 
In order to exercise "control," must act and vote 
In every instance as a unit, although they come from 
parts of the country and represent diverse 
and frequently conflicting interest; third, that upon 
this assumption, the directors outside of this group 
be mere dummies, with no voice or opinion of 
their own who, In almost every instance, are over- 
ruled by a minority; finally, that this sum of twenty- 
five billion of dollars Is not actual cash or liquid 
assets, susceptible of manipulation or misuse by the 
directors; the fact of course being that the great 
bulk of this enormous sum Is, and for many years 
has been, tied up in the form of rights of way, rails, 
ties, equipment, factories, plants, tools, manufactured 
goods and other forms of corporate property neces- 
sary for carrying on railroad and Industrial business 
in the country. 

It Is most regrettable and harmful that either Con- 
gress or the country at large should gain the wholly 
erroneous impression that these great resources are 
at the disposition of a small group of men, or that 
the corporations themselves are controlled by a 
minority of their various boards. 


was at the very 

for currency 

as follows: 

We recognize have recognized serious 

In our present currency laws. 

We believe that the country will continue to be sub- 

to financial ills and disturbances until it possesses 

a more scientific banking and currency 

system. To secure prompt and wise legislation in 

matters^ our firm and, we believe^ bankers 

throughout the country will, by every means within 

their power, cooperate with Congress. 

And so 5 as I have said ? the tumult and the shouting 
died, the furor faded away. Nothing of great value 
seemed to have been derived from the Congressional 
inquiry, save this : that the public was fortunate enough 
to have been given even though the giving may have 
shortened his days a revelation by the greatest leader 
of affairs that America has, perhaps ? ever had ? of the 
principles which must underlie all sound business; of 
the faith which man must have in his fellows ; of the 
motives which must and do rise above self-interest ; of 
the spirit of tolerance and cooperation rising strong in 
the modern man. All that was, in effect no matter 
how unintended the burden of the late Mr. Morgan's 
testimony. It was the theme which ran through all the 
clear story which his brilliant and like-minded partner, 
Henry P. Davison, told. 

Several so-called biographies of the late Mr. Morgan 
have appeared in the last two or three years. None 
of them has been authorized by his family. None of 
them has been even tolerably good, though one is writ- 
ten in a vigorous and vivid style. It is perhaps not 
surprising that, inasmuch as Mr. Morgan's heirs have 


to an authorized biography, 

be privateering In that field. 

Mr, was so a figure IE the life of 

the thirty or forty years preceding his 

IB 1913, it certain that random 

of make their appearance. 

that I have read are ? however, with- 
out in the lamentable inaccuracy of the pictures 
present of the man himself and of what he 
In the first place they have been written by 
however excellent their intentions, had appar- 
never even met the late Mr. Morgan, much less 
him. Secondly, the authors have manifestly 
to consult friends or acquaintances of Mr. Mor- 
gan who might have been in a position to set them 
right on many points. Thirdly, these biographers seem 
to have relied for their material almost completely upon 
daily newspaper headlines, and sensational accounts of 
episodes that either never occurred, or bore little re- 
semblance in their occurrence to the printed accounts 
of what happened. 

I am far from blaming the daily press as a whole. 
On the contrary I firmly believe that, under the limita- 
tions of time, the necessity for going to press at a cer- 
tain hour before opportunity has offered for checking 
back the accuracy of all the reports flowing in, its 
efforts to get at the facts are worthy of all praise. But 
about any personage like the late Mr. Morgan, and 
about the extraordinary variety of financial operations 
that circumstances and his unique sense of responsibility 
compelled him to undertake, there was bound to spring 
up a vast amount of gossip and rumor. Such stories, 
almost always undenied, readily became tradition and 
later on, so far as the general public was concerned, 

"MONEY TRUST 11 149 

Mr. to news- 

or writers. Apparently It oc- 

curred to him be or 

necessary. He early to having the 

of his undertakings misstated and his pur- 

misinterpreted. He was more or less philo- 
sophical under such misrepresentation^ and seemed to 
It was a temporary phase that had to be ignored. 
Strong In the integrity of his own purpose, he had a 
naive belief that, always provided he did the right 
thing, matters would come out all right "Never 
dreamed, though right were worsted, wrong would 
triumph." Mr. Morgan once remarked that he would 
rather lose money from trusting a man too much than 
gain it from trusting him too little. It was, perhaps, 
hardly to be expected that a public, with whom he 
shared few If any confidences, would accept things on 
faith to the extent that he did. 

Herbert L. Satterlee, the late Mr. Morgan's son- 
in-law, tells a melancholy tale of the fate that befell 
what biographers would have recognized as a mass of 
extraordinarily useful source material. It seems that 
after Mr. Morgan had, upon the advice of his father, 
J. S. Morgan, resident In London, started shortly be- 
fore the Civil War in business in New York City, he 
fell Into the habit of writing frequent letters in long- 
hand to the then senior Mr. Morgan, recounting what 
was going on In the United States in finance, politics 
and other fields. His comments upon men, people and 
affairs were said to have been extraordinarily illu- 
minating. The father in London so cherished these let- 
ters that, year by year, he had them bound and put in 
a safe spot in his library in the London house at Prince's 
Gate, now the American Embassy. Years after J. S. 
Morgan's death in 1890, J. Pierpont took a rainy after- 

i 5 o P. DAVISON 

to of the volumes containing 

Ms of America was doing in the *6os 5 '703 

and His had often told him that those 

as a basis for a biography 

felt one day be published. 

Mr. Morgan, noting on that rainy afternoon 

he had in his comments and criticisms, 

and not that a careful editing could eliminate 

anything objectionably burned up all the letters upon 

the Mrs. Satterlee, who was visiting him, re- 

in the afternoon, found only the ashes. 
Xow he is gone, I am inclined to think that the 
portion of the public has gradually come to ap- 
praise the late Mr. Morgan at something approaching 
nearly his true worth. People now look back and 
see great figure, perhaps dimly outlined through 
the vista of almost twenty years, holding great power 
aot vast wealth, as was at one time thought and 
wielding it with strong purpose for constructive rather 
personal ends. Comparing notes with all his 
partners whom I ever knew, I never found one whose 
experience was different from my own : namely, if any 
proposition were laid before Mr. Morgan, his invari- 
able attitude was that he was interested to undertake 
a profitable operation only if he deemed it to be con- 
structive; and he frequently entered into an unprofit- 
able undertaking if at the same time he felt it would 
prove constructive. 

in his great funeral oration, Pericles says : "Wealth 
to us is not mere material for vainglory, but oppor- 
tunity for achievement" So it was with Mr. Morgan. 
And of him, too, that ever-glowing phrase, again from 
the lips of Pericles, might well be recorded : "For the 
whole earth is the sepulchre of famous men ; and their 
story is not graven only on stones or over their native 

"MONEY TRUST 11 151 

but on far 

the of lives. 11 

Perhaps, I this on the 

''Money Trust" craze by a 

the Benjamin Strong wrote years be- 

his death. In it he comments upon whole 

phenomenon, and upon the anomaly that Davi- 

who for several years had been devoting great 

to the task of working out a sounder banking 

system, have been one accused of working to 

just the opposite end. 

"How indeed," wrote Benjamin Strong, "could a 
man be charged with purposes hostile to the welfare 
of the country, selfish, and self-seeking in their object, 
in instigating the organization of a 'money trust 1 when, 
at the same time he was engaged, possibly more actively 
any other business man in the country, in the 
furtherance of a banking reform which would make 
such a thing as a *money trust 1 an impossibility!" 

In the same letter Strong adds : "The man who was 
so largely responsible for efforts toward a correction of 
an unsound situation was charged with some improper 
purpose in the very steps which he was taking toward 
strengthening banking in New York. How far his 
motive was misinterpreted was shown in the fact that 
the organization of the Bankers Trust Company was 
in some part the foundation for the attack by Congress 
upon the so-called 'money trust, 7 which culminated in 
the investigations by the Pujo Committee in 1912." 

What Strong meant to make clear, of course, was 
that Davison's work for banking reform, as described 
in an earlier chapter, contributed ultimately to the 
establishment of the Federal Reserve System, which 
as I have heretofore pointed out, made the banks 
wholly independent of the sort of aid which the 


to In the money panic of 

to say of imaginable "money trust 1 ' 

the consolidation of banks 

units, commensurate with the 

of units, made our banking system 

and entirely independent of as- 

not to say control, by any private firm or 

or group of interests. 


active share in the formation of the American Group of 
for the mshfffncf of China History of the old and new 
Consortiums Efforts of the Taft administration negatived by its 
Wilson regime reverts to former policy American atti- 
tudes toward China 

rr^HE first piece of international business that Davl- 
JL son ever took an active share in had to do with 
the operations of the old Chinese Consortium. I say 
"old" as contrasted with the existing Chinese Con- 
sortium which is composed of banking groups from 
the United States, Great Britain, France and Japan. 
The story of the first Consortium, and of Davlson's 
activities with it, Is briefly about like this : 

In 1909, the Governments of Great Britain, France 
and Germany came to the conclusion that It would be 
to the Interest of the Chinese Government, and also to 
the interest of the so-called Western powers, to under- 
take upon a cooperative basis, as among banking groups 
made up from the three countries just named, such 
loans as might safely and properly be made to the 
Chinese Government The European Governments 
mentioned had become Impressed with the evil results 
of the policy of "spheres of influence" in China, under- 
taken by all three of these powers, and by Russia and 
Japan as well. Such a policy had as Its inevitable con- 
sequences the parcelling out of a considerable portion 
of Chinese territory among these various powers, as 



as the aac! corrupt 

for the of the Court and the obtaining 

of etc. 

wisely saw that contlnu- 

and of the policy of "spheres of influ- 

ence"" -Russia on the Liaotung Peninsula, Great Brit- 
ain at Germany In Shantung, Japan in 
Manchuria, France in Yunnan might well lead 
to clashes in the Far East and even to blood- 
This, then, was the reason leading Great Britain, 
and Germany to encourage cooperative effort 
as their national banking groups. They felt too 
reasonably that if the various banks and 
in the different European countries were com- 
with one another for the doubtful privilege of 
loans to China, the result would be to "spoil" 
the Chinese Government, and, just because Western 
money was easy to get, to lead It to even laxer habits 
in the administration of state finance. 

So, in accordance with this new policy, British, 
French and German banking groups, In 1909, negoti- 
ated with the Chinese Government a new loan of ap- 
proximately 5,500,000 for the building of the Huku- 
ang Railway. These European banking groups had 
got so far as actually to Initial the outline of a contract 
with the Chinese Government, when the State Depart- 
ment at Washington suddenly became active and de- 
cided that America ought to have a share in this rail- 
way financing project 

It was not a situation that was easy to enter or to 
develop, so far as America was concerned. The tradi- 
tional policy of the United States Government, while 
giving tacit encouragement to the penetration of Its 
nationals Into foreign commercial fields, was strictly 
one of "hands off." That Is to say, our Government 

it or 


the of gov- 

ernments were to give their ia 

like the Far East 

the Department of State at Washington 
to initiate this new policy of commercial encour- 
Not only did It feel that China was a great 
market for American products ? but also that 
the distinctly friendly feeling In China, born of John 
Hay's enunciation of the * 4 Open Door" policy and of 
the American remission of the Boxer Indemnity the 
year before, ought legitimately to be capitalized. Con- 
sequently, President Taft (himself Interested in the 
Far East, because of his previous Philippines experi- 
ences), with Secretary of State Knox's urging^ outlined 
the Idea of commercial cooperation "dollar diplo- 
macy" with China, In his message to Congress In De- 
cember, 1909. In this he pointed out that the cooper- 
ation of American bankers was called for, as the 
'"indispensable instrumentality" which the American 
Government required to carry out a "practical and real 
application of the open-door policy." 

To help carry out such purposes the American Group 
of bankers had, at the instance and upon the urging 
of the Department of State, been organized under an 
agreement executed June 1 1, 1909. It was composed of 
J. P. Morgan & Co., Kuhn, Loeb & Co., the First 
National Bank and the National City Bank of New 
York. The Group had little hope of any considerable 
direct profit to itself, but It had a sense of national obli- 
gation to help to advance a liberal-minded policy, 
which might meet the wishes of its Government, and 
also help to cultivate markets for American manufac- 
turers and merchants. That was an appeal which made 

X5 6 P. 

Its aad led to his whole-hearted 

Into the of the American Group 

a of the Consortium itself. 

the Group realized its original 

of not primarily for profit may be 

by the fact that the former and present 
Groups been out of pocket, for cable 

tolls and expenses, a total of not muchness than 

On the other hand, the only financial opera- 
up to date have been : ( i ) the Group's share in 
the Railways Loan, sold publicly here and 

in 1911 ; and (2) a loan which the Group made 
to the Pacific Development Corporation (a publicly 
American company doing a trading and com- 
mercial business in the Far East) on the security of 
an of Chinese Government notes purchased by 

that Corporation; the net loss to date from these two 
operations being almost $4,cx>o,ooa Here we have an 
illuminating example to international bankers of the 
so-called dollar diplomacy! 

As has been said, the arrangement for American 
participation in Chinese Government financing had not 
been too easy to bring about. In fact, the State De- 
partment had recourse to a promise made earlier to 
United States Minister Conger by the Imperial Chinese 
Government, that American interests should have a 
share in the financing and construction of any railways 
which might be laid down in the Yangtze valley, termi- 
nating at Hankow. But it required repeated efforts on 
the part of the Administration to make the arrange- 
ment, because, as has been stated, a loan agreement with 
the Chinese Imperial Government had already been 
arrived at and actually initialled by the European na- 
tional banking groups. Even President Taft, himself, 
took a hand in the matter, communicating directly 


by with Prince Chlng. Finally, it ar- 

ranged that American a one-quarter 

in the of any to be 

the Hukuang Railway Loan Agreement 

It be explained American participation 

in Chinese business was due in part to the initia- 
tive of E. H. Harriman and the activities of Willard 
Straight, Consul General at Mukden from 1906 to 
In fact Mr. Harriman, who had been a vigorous 
of participation by American capital in the 
of Chinese railways, was allotted an interest 
in the newly organized American Group, but his death, 
in the summer of 1909, came soon after it was organ- 
ized. He had felt, as did Davison, that Willard 
Straight was one of the best-equipped Americans to 
develop business in China, particularly in the way of 
railway construction. Accordingly Straight (later suc- 
ceeded by Francis H. McKnight who happened to be 
a brother-in-law of Davison) was appointed repre- 
sentative of the Group and sent out to Peking. 

One of the first propositions the Group was called 
upon to consider was the financing of the Chinchou- 
Aigun Railway, in connection with which Straight had 
previously obtained an option from the Chinese Gov- 
ernment In dealing with this matter, as indeed with 
all this Chinese business, the Group kept in the closest 
touch with the State Department The Department's 
views were, of course, controlling in all matters involv- 
ing the international relations of the United States or 
the interests of China, and no step was taken by the 
American Group in any instance without the Depart- 
ment's approval in advance. Copies of all cables and 
letters from the Group's representative in China were 
promptly forwarded to the Department, as were the re- 
plies, most of which were written by Davison himself, 


Secretary Knox or 
one of his After all, the Chinchou-Aigun 

to as it proved 

to up the International complications 

and in the way of the proposed con- 


The Railway matter, even after American 

been arranged, also dragged in spite 
of all the American Group could do. Finally after 
negotiations, designed to allocate eqoi- 
to the several interested powers engineering and 
rights on the various sections of the rail- 
ways, an agreement was reached and signed on May 20, 
1911. Shortly afterward, on June 15, a loan of 6 r 
was issued, one-fourth of the total amount 
offered in America. In all of the negotiations 
pertaining to these transactions, Davison was ener- 
getically active. He made it a point to attend person- 
ally the frequent meetings of the representatives of 
the Group, including conferences on two occasions in 
Europe, where discussions were conducted on an inter- 
national basis. At these conferences Davison was fre- 
quently called upon to preside; and to this day the 
European representatives speak with appreciation of 
the skill which Davison showed in harmonizing the 
widely divergent elements, and in solving difficult situ- 
ations with his touch of lightness and humor. 

As to one of these conferences held on September 23, 
1911, Edward Grenfell, of the London firm of Morgan, 
Grenfell & Co., has recalled certain significant features. 
It seems that the representatives of the British and 
French banking groups had invited Davison, accom- 
panied by Grenfell, for a brief discussion in Paris, pre- 
liminary to the formal, four-group conference which 
was to be held in Berlin at the Invitation of the Ger- 


The British, the and the 

in a car 

to Berlin^ the 

days. There to be con- 

electricity In the air. Davison dimly 

there be political development 

and so special arrangements were with 

the Wagon-Lits Company to hold the sleeping car In 
ready to be sent off at any moment. When the 
arrived In Berlin, they proceeded to the meet- 
ing with the Germans at 1 1 A.M., as already arranged. 
After Davlson was voted to the chair he outlined cer- 
proposals for consideration by the four Groups. 
These points had already been under discussion by the 
British, French and Americans In Paris. To the sur- 
prise of Davlson and Grenfell, no comments were made 
the Davlson suggestions, and in a surprisingly 
brief time his proposals were agreed to by all present. 
The meeting adjourned till 3 o'clock In the afternoon 
when the minutes of the morning meeting, embodying 
the conclusions reached, were to be confirmed, Davl- 
son and his colleagues could hardly believe that the 
conference could arrive at a decision without long 
argument lasting for several days. In the afternoon, 
however, the minutes were confirmed by all parties, 
again without any comment Although the German 
bankers had arranged a large dinner for the Interna- 
tional delegates In the evening, Davlson and his friends 
felt strongly that there must be some important polit- 
ical event pending and that the foreign delegates would 
not wish to remain longer In Berlin than was necessary. 
It was accordingly arranged that the sleeping car 
should be put on the night express for Paris, and the 
dinner was expedited, so that the delegates could catch 
the evening train. 

ifo P. 

It was at this Davison found himself, to 

Ms to the Chinese Minister 

to did not wish to be impolite, but, 

not a of any except his own, he 

was to let the Minister do his talking with his 

OE his other hand. At the first aYailable mo- 

the versatile Chinese Minister leaned 

to Davison, and in perfect English inquired 

if Davison could tell him "who was pitching 

for the White Sox this season." Davison was of course 

and delighted with this development^ and he 

his complete attention to the Chinese Minister 

who s apparently, had spent many years in Chicago and 

Washington and was most entertaining and Interesting. 

Subsequently, it proved that the political crisis pend- 
ing was that which developed in the following week 
when Italy, without warning } presented an ultimatum 
to Turkey. ThiSj coming so soon after the long drawn- 
out quarrel about Morocco and Agadir had appeared 
to be settled, must have been known to the German 
bankers at the time of the conference on September 23, 
1911. Davison and his associates finally understood 
why the German banking group was ready to agree to 
any plan about China, or anything else, in order to 
get on with their own affairs. 

From time to time various loan proposals were 
brought up by the Chinese Government. In 1912 
soon after the revolution in China, the four groups 
identified with the Hukuang Loan were approached 
by the new Chinese Government and were asked for 
a loan of 60,0005000 for administrative and reorgani- 
zation purposes. With the backing of their respective 
governments, Russian and Japanese banking groups 
sought a participation in this proposed business. There- 
upon the Consortium was enlarged and the so-called 

'Six-Power Grop n for the of 

the referred to. An 
it, June 1 8, 1912, by the 

in China of the various The 

at the no of the 

Six-Power Group were to undertake Individually any 

loan business In China until the entire 

of the Reorganization Loan had been 

; or, alternatively, until a majority of the Group 

decide not to go further with the Reorganiza- 

Loan ; or until a period of five years had elapsed. 

Through Its representative in Peking, the American 

Group had taken an active part In the negotiations 

with the Chinese Government It had, Indeed, been 

largely influential in securing terms fair and equitable 

to China, and at the same time such as would render 

the proposed" bonds safe for the investing public. 

But, In the midst of all this activity, came the change 
In national administration at Washington. President 
Taft went out and President Wilson came in, naming 
as the head of the Department of State, William Jen- 
nings Bryan. As soon as the Inauguration took place 
and Mr. Bryan was fairly Installed, Davison, in behalf 
of the American Group 5 repaired to Washington in 
order to discuss Chinese matters with the new Secre- 
tary of State, and to ascertain whether the new ad- 
ministration intended to continue the policies of 
President Taft and Secretary Knox as to China. 

It must be admitted that Mr. Bryan frankly con- 
fessed to Davison complete ignorance of Far Eastern 
affairs. He had heard dimly of John Hay's "Open 
Door" for China, but whether he wanted to keep It 
open was not quite clear. Davison had no policy to 
advocate nor any plan to urge. His story was one 
simply of exposition: the American Group had, four 


at the of the 

and time in 

to In the Far Eastern policies 

of the DM the new administration wish 

it to this work or drop it? In little words for 

Davison explained Jest what had been 
why. He pointed out the necessity that 
for the American Group to receive a decision 
the Wilson administration as to Its policy. 
Secretary Bryan properly replied that he was not 
prepared to give an Immediate answer, but would do 
so in due course. Davison said that this would be 
entirely satisfactory. He asked, however, that, In the 
Mr. Bryan decided upon a change In policy, 
he would be good enough to communicate that fact In 
advance to the American Group, so that Its members 
could In turn prepare their European associates for 
their withdrawal. Davison pointed out that the Eu- 
ropean Groups and the Foreign Offices abroad had been 
considerate of our own Government In arranging 
American participation In the Chinese Consortium at 
a late date; and that it was only due to the European 
Groups to give them a chance to take any proper meas- 
ures that might be necessary, should the American 
Group be obliged to withdraw. 

Thus the Interview ended. Davison waited. J. P. 
Morgan & Co. waited. The American Group waited. 
Only silence from Washington. 

Then on March 18, 1913, appeared on the front pages 
of the public press a statement from the Administra- 
tion which In effect threw the American Group, the 
International Consortium and all China out of the 
window. It stated that it did not care to follow the 
policy of the preceding administration In requesting 
the good offices of the American Group in loans to the 


It this of 

the of the Currenc 

to China, the 

u touch very nearly the 

of China Itself. 1 ' Another of its 
they the State Department to 

support might eventually prove err 


This announcement was a blow to American Interes: 
In China. It was bound to Injure the prestige of th 
American Department of State In all the Buropea 
Foreign Offices. It was a source of mortification to th 
American Group of the Consortium not because It dc 
prived them of chances to make profits out of Chines 
financing; Indeed, after only about four years of worl 
It had already become plain that those chances cor 
talned more liabilities than assets. The chief reaso 
for discomfiture was that the summary action of the Ac 
ministration had so discredited the American Group I 
the eyes of their European colleagues. It was ft. 
that the latter would regard the American bankers 2 
In some way responsible for this sudden change c 
front, and therefore as poor and untrustworthy par 
ners In any enterprise of International Import. 

To the Chinese generally, this sudden reversal wz 
bewildering and discouraging. The entry of the Amei 
lean Group of bankers into the counsels of the Intei 
national Consortium had been very pleasing to then 
They were not prepared to accept without some resei 
vation the views of the European Groups, and felt ths 
American participation was a permanent safeguard i 
Chinese interests. Later, when I was in China, som 
of their leading men told me that nothing had bee 
more disheartening to them than the sudden shifts I 
policy by the changing American administrations. W 


can the 

at prevent the 

of as foreign policy 

to but it is 

for our to comprehend the reason for 

However, the was done. The American Group 
of the peace they could with the 

Groups and definitely withdrew from further 
the contacts necessary in follow- 
ing the developments in the Hukuang Rail- 
matter. The Group issued the following brief 

"As the American Group has been ready to serve 
the Administration in the past, irrespective of the heavy 
involved, so it was disposed to serve the present 
Administration if so requested. But deferring to the 
policy now declared, the Group has withdrawn entirely 
from the Chinese loan negotiations and has so advised 
the European and Japanese banking groups." 

Incidentally, there has always been considerable con- 
jecture as to just who was responsible for the Admin- 
istration's radical change of policy. Frederick V. 
Field, who has recently published an excellent history 
of the two Chinese Consortiums for the Council on 
Pacific Relations, states his conviction that President 
Wilson, alone, was responsible for the new policy of 
non-support He points out that the statement of 
March 18, 1913, was given to the press, not from the 
Department of State (which would be the usual chan- 
nel for such release) , but direct from the White House, 
and even without the knowledge of the Acting-Secre- 
tary of State, Huntington Wilson; Secretary Bryan 
having for some time been away from Washington. 
Mr. Field further points out that Acting-Secretary 



of the he had not 

Ail this Is not of but It 

to the of over 

the Administration policy. 

A over three years there an- 

sodden In policy. The Department of 

which had marched down the hill turned and 
up again. In June ? 1916, the Department 
presented to the American Group a request from the 
Chinese Government for a small emergency Ioan 5 and 
later Invited the Morgan firm to send a representa- 
tive to a conference called to consider this bit of Chinese 
financing. At this conference la Washington, on June 
22 S the suggestion was urgently put forward that the 
American Group advance the Chinese Government 
four or five million dollars to relieve their current 
administrative necessities. 

Ignoring the Group's serious embarrassment caused 
by the abrupt alteration of the Government's attitude 
three years before, Davlson, who followed these new 
developments very closely, made clear. In behalf of his 
firm and Its associates, their desire to render any pos- 
sible service they could. In a letter dated July 26, 
1916, addressed to the Secretary of State by the Amer- 
ican Group ? Davlson recounted their experience a few 
years previously and pointed out the restraining obliga- 
tion, with regard to any new Chinese loans, which they 
still recognized as binding under the old Six-Power 
Group agreement But the latter went on to state that 
the Group would consider doing the business if the 
United States Government so requested, and in any 
event would cooperate to the fullest extent with any 
American banks or bankers undertaking the business; 
and f urther, would make available all the valuable in- 


by the Group a 

of The indi- 

cated, it would be to see China 

the assistance it would not at 

tic American bankers to do the business. 

the dropped. 

In of 1918 the Wilson Administration 

up seriously and actively the whole question of 

financing and of participation in it by Amer- 
interests. The Administration not only 
its policy of negation, declared early in 1913, 
bet further than the Taft-Knox movements had 

in outlining a completely new policy in regard to 
Chinese Government financing and the proper relation 
thereto not only of the American, but of the so-called 
Western governments generally. In identical notes to 
the Foreign Offices of Great Britain, France and Japan 
(German and Russian participation being deemed then 
quite impossible) , the United States Government, on 
July 10, 1918, suggested and, on October 8, expressed 
definitely the hope that these three Governments would 
Join with it, and consent to the formation of banking 
groups from their respective countries which would co- 
operate with the American banking group, for the pur- 
pose of organizing a new Consortium to assist China 
upon lines somewhat different from those prevailing in 
the old Consortium. 

Inasmuch as Davison was then fully pre-occupied 
with Red Cross affairs, at his request and that of the 
American Group, I represented that Group at the pre- 
liminary meeting of the international banking groups 
held at Paris in the spring of 1919. Tentative organi- 
zation looking to the formation of a new Consortium 
was fully discussed ; but the Japanese Government at- 
titude, as reflected through the Japanese banking rep- 

1 6? 

was of the 

and to the Gov- 

ernment IE the of 

Manchuria of the of 

adjacent to South Manchuria. As to this 
several were the 

Department of State and the British Foreign Office^ 
GO the one hand, and the Japanese Government on the 
other. Bet little headway was made aod an 
to exist. 

Consequently^ at the request of the Department of 
State, approved by the British and French Foreign 
Offices, I visited Japan and China In the spring of 
1920, and had extensive conferences with all the au- 
thorities and with the Japanese banking group. A 
formula was worked out satisfactory to Japanese ideas^ 
was by cable approved by the Department of State 
and by the British and French Foreign Offices. The 
representatives of all three banking groups 3 British, 
French and Japanese, were good enough to accept the 
Invitation of the American Group to attend a confer- 
ence In New Yorkj and there on October 15, 1920, the 
organization of the new Consortium for the assistance 
of China was announced. Although Davlson took no 
active part In these conferences, his Interest and bless- 
ing were of great value to all those participating In 
this renewal of his old work for China. And up to the 
time of his last Illness, he continued to follow Far East- 
ern matters with close and helpful attention. 

As a matter of fact 5 the new Consortium has never, 
in all Its twelve years of formal existence, functioned 
as an organization to advance funds to the successive 
Chinese Governments that have sat at Peking or Nan- 
king. Immediately upon the organization of the Con- 
sortium in 1920, a popular outcry was raised in China 

1 68 P. DAVISON 

to tic the organized to 

a control China, 11 

as the ran. Chinese politicians 

one in seeking popularity with 

The Chinese generally were never 
of the fact that, far from seeking financial control 
In China (an obviously quite impossible undertaking), 
the banking groups were each so hesitant about 

any loans whatsoever In China, that they 
the only method of affording any measur- 
for any such loans was through international, 
cooperative effort The Chinese politicians never al- 
lowed their people to realize that such cooperative 
effort, on the part of foreign groups friendly to, and 
desirous of assisting China, might constitute a move- 
ment of great value to that country. 

Chlna ? s loss has been a gain to the Consortium In 
that Its groups have never been tempted to arrange 
loans to the Chinese Governments, and later be obliged 
to contemplate the same default upon them that has 
fallen on most foreign loans made to China in the clos- 
ing years of the last and the early years of the present 

In passing, It may be permissible finally to note how 
complete was the reversal of the Wilson Administra- 
tion, in Its new attitude, from the one which it took 
in 1913, when it abandoned the American Group of the 
Consortium to Its own devices. In its new approach, 
and in urging upon the British, French and Japanese 
Governments the organization of a new banking Con- 
sortium, the Wilson Administration stated in identical 
notes to the three powers mentioned: "The Govern- 
ments of each of the four participating Groups under- 
take to give their complete support to their respective 
national Groups, . . ." Again in the Department's 

1 69 

of 9, to the 

of u This * * * is 

to aid In every way and to 

to every 
to the execution of 

la by its citizens In foreign lands." 

Plainly was the opposite of the attitude of five 

before, as was also the Secretary of State's new 

to the American Group: "I will say that 

the Government has suggested that this loan [to China] 

be made, and would have no hesitancy In formally 

that fact at the time of issue." It Is a happy 

that Goveraments f like human belngs ? can afford 

to be inconsistent Otherwise^ progress might come to 

an end. 

Writing somewhat reminiscently of the Consortium 
of Davison, President Taft, several months after 
his term of office had expired In 1913, said this: 

"He was also of the utmost benefit to the Govern- 
ment, when I was President, In assisting the State De- 
partment in the very earnest effort that was made to 
organize a six-power loan, through which the United 
States would have been able to exercise the most benef- 
icent influence in behalf of China in the matter of 
securing justice to her from European nations. Mr. 
Davlson, representing Morgan & Company, accepted 
the suggestions of Secretary Knox, and tendered the 
valuable services of a syndicate In this country to 
furnish a share of the loan which should come from this 
country in the carrying out of the plan which Mr. Knox 
was largely Instrumental In devising. The loan was 
not sought for by the banks, but Mr. Knox sought the 
banks to assist in the loan in order that we might have 
a leverage by which to exercise substantial Influence 
In the protection of China and In the securing of equal- 

I 7 o P. 

ity in the her. I do not 

the fact the Administration has ig- 

nored the of the which we had reared, 

tad has it, in any way minimizes the 

of Mr. in bringing about a situation in 

the government of the United States 
under the present Administration we 
along the civilization of the world 
by China." 

never visited the Far East, but inter- 
minded as he was, he was quick to perceive 
the importance of studying American interests and con- 
in the Pacific basin. He realized, also, the gen- 
uine sentiment friendly to China that existed through- 
out the United States, with the possible exception of 
the Pacific Coast. These were the years, too, when 
Chinese political developments were attracting atten- 
tion in America. The fall of the loosely knit Empire, 
and the early attempts of the new Republic to effect 
organization were of absorbing interest. Coincident 
with these developments came the social upheaval and 
the rise of the so-called young China : the manifest, but 
ofttimes ill-directed, zeal of the student groups. 

While the great mass of American people failed, per- 
haps, to follow in detail all the developments of what 
has sometimes been called the Chinese Renaissance, 
it had become important for American men of affairs 
and bankers to watch and study the application of 
Western ideas to this ancient, oriental civilization, and 
to the rise in Asia, even in distorted form, of modern 
nationalism. It was undoubtedly his observation of 
such matters that excited Davison's special interest in 
the constructive efforts that he made towards Chinese 
Government financing. He would have been disillu- 
sioned, as his successors in his work have been, by 

the and by the 

In in China. he, 

his In- 

peace-loving of 

and capacity, out Its 

evolve a 

a nation. 


of the War Effect on the world money? markets Sterling 

to a of $^ Plight of Netu York City Its maturing 

of $8o,OOO f OOO in London and Paris Morgan 

the in working to $twe the City's credit How the 

carried through Comptroller Prendcrgtist's statement 

JUNE 285 19145 the Archduke of Austria was 
murdered at Sarajevo. There followed a month 
of negotiations between the Foreign Offices of the great 
nations of Europe, the fruitlessness of which we can 
understand a little better now than we could then. 
On August 2j 1914, the German Government delivered 
its ultimatum to Belgium, and on the next day Lord 
Grey's speech in the House of Commons made clear 
that, if Germany invaded Belgium, England would go 
into the war. England declared war on August 4. 

Despite the month that had intervened between the 
Serbian assassination and the opening of hostilities be- 
tween England and Germany, there was practically no 
feeling in New York that a general European war was 
Imminent. Few serious people really expected that the 
highly civilized nations of Europe would actually em- 

* This chapter, as stated in the Foreword to this volume, was written, 
several years prior to his withdrawal from the firm, by tie late Dwight 
W. Morrow. In explaining how New York City's foreign obligations were 
met Dwight Morrow has properly given the chief credit for the performance 
to J. P. Morgan and Davlson. But as Davlson himself often testified, and 
as we had ample evidence at the time, Morrow himself was exceedingly 
active, taking a most important part in the conception and execution of the 
whole plan. 



on a or It be 

Harry view; 

views he As late as 

August 1 5 he the 

be no European war. 

Lord Grey's speech of August 3 the of 

threw the money markets of the 
the confusion. London was the cen- 

tre of the world. It was there that International settle- 
were made; the values of the moneys of the 
were reckoned In pounds sterling. The 
of the pound sterling is equal to $4.8665. In 
times a New York merchant or banker, who 
a contract to perform in London requiring the 
payment of pounds s could buy a claim against a re- 
sponsible London bank or merchant and transfer that 
claim to his own creditor in London, thus settling the 
debt. But all the delicate mechanism of exchange 
transactions broke down completely with the outbreak 
of the World War. There was no longer a free market 
for gold. It was Impossible to draw gold from the 
banks with which to make international settlements, 
and even If the banks had surrendered their gold It was 
uncertain whether It could safely be transmitted across 
the ocean. Exchange on London in New York rose 
immediately from a normal of $4.8665 to a temporary 
high point of $7 to the pound. This did not mean that 
In the ordinary sense a pound sterling was worth seven 
dollars : it merely meant that merchants, who required 
sterling bills In order to discharge their contracts in 
London, were willing to pay what they had to pay In 
order to secure them. 

In the early part of August, 1914, Comptroller Pren- 
dergastj of the City of New York, called upon J. P. 

i 74 P. DAVISON 

& Co. the City of New 

payable In Lon- 
In the amounts : 

Is in Pounds Sterling 

1914. ...... . 2 y I7G f 0QO 

19x4. ................ 2,3io t ooo 

November, 1914. ............ .... 6,225/500 



in Paris in Francs 

September, 1914.. 7,000,000 

October, 1914 10^450^000 

November, 1914..... 35*55o*oo 

December* 1914........ 8,500,000 



The total was equivalent, at par of exchange, to 
about $77,200,000. 

It had long been the custom of the City of New York 
to Issue short-time notes in anticipation of taxes which 
are due to be paid in the autumn, and of the sale of 
long-term bonds. Usually these short-time notes would 
be sold in the New York money market, and if the 
notes matured prior to the receipt of the anticipated 
funds, it was in normal times an easy matter for the 
City to renew them. However, because of the more 
advantageous rates of interest prevailing abroad, the 
City had Issued its notes, in 1914, in pounds and francs 
and had discounted them at low rates of Interest in 
London and Paris. It was consequently under obli- 
gation to pay off these notes In pounds sterling and in 
francs. Ordinarily the aggregate amount of the in- 
debtedness in dollars would, as stated, have amounted 
to approximately $77,000,000. 

But under the abnormal exchange conditions of 


and it was to 

be to 

the it the of the city 

and of the of J. P. & Co., any 

to the very of 

required to city 

In still farther up the In 

francs, thereby increasing the loss to the city. 

The situation was so serious that there of 

the city declining to meet its maturing obligations. 
The argument of advising such a course was 

America had had no part in making the World War 
it could^ therefore, fairly decline to repay its 
obligations until conditions returned to normal. Davi- 
son insistent that no consideration should be given 
a suggestion^ and he was from the start outspoken 
In his conviction that the only course open to the city 
was that of meeting Its obligations without delay, 
Comptroller Prendergast was of the same mind and 
never for a moment swerved In his determination. The 
failure of the greatest city in America to meet Its obli- 
gations punctually would only have added to the world 
confusion; moreover, It would have dealt an almost 
irreparable blow to the credit of New York City, as 
well as cast discredit upon all the United States. 

The problem presented to the city was twofold : first, 
how to obtain sufficient dollar funds at a time when 
security markets were In a state of panic ; second, how 
to make certain that dollar funds, even if obtained, 
could be used to satisfy obligations payable In pounds 
and francs. There was one method by which this result 
could be assured. That was for the city to sell Its 
obligations to those who would pay for them In the 
actual gold, so that, should the creditors require it, the 

i 7 6 P. DAVISON 

be for shipment. But the 

of $77,000,000 in gold, in 

1914, an impossible task Although on 

the eve of there was at that time no Fed- 

System. The gold reserves of the country 

among the various reserve and central 

reserve Those had practically all sus- 

specie payments. 

J. P. Morgan, our present senior^ and Davison } how- 
ever, believed that , despite the adverse market condi- 
Hew York City could sell its bonds or notes in 
the American market ? thus securing dollar funds. They 
further believed that, if the New York banks as a 
whole were appealed to, they would surrender gold 
from their gold reserves in order to protect the city's 
credit Before undertaking the work of organizing the 
New York City banks to carry out the transaction, 
Davison arranged for an interview with the Secretary 
of the Treasury, in order to obtain the approval of 
both the Secretary and the Comptroller of the Cur- 
rency to this operation to protect the city's credit; the 
operation being so large as to mean a further reduction 
in the cash reserves of the banks. The plan also in- 
volved gaining approval from the Treasury Depart- 
rnent, for the use of New York City obligations as 
security for emergency currency, to a somewhat larger 
extent than might originally have been expected. The 
following letter was designed to make clear to the 
Secretary that the firm intended to handle the trans- 
action with as small a shipment of gold as possible, but 
that, in order to assure the city that its obligations 
abroad would be met, it was necessary to organize such 
a handling syndicate as would be certain to have the 
gold available for shipment, in case of necessity : 


N. W. G. 

o/ fir Treasury , 
D. C. 

After the the you 

to for me you that I 

a to you the of our In 

you on record. 

At the of the interview I the that 

the Comptroller of the City of New York had us that the 

City require something in the of $120,000,000 

and December 3 1st In order to and 

to $7,000^000 or so of new money which It have to 

cany out certain contracts now under way. Of the total amount, 

approximating $84,000,000 is due and payable in Europe 

the next four months. It was stated also that it was in 

to get up a party, including the of New York, 

should arrange to take New York City short-time obligations 

to this extent; that this would be done only upon the understanding 

the finances of the City are to be conducted upon a policy 

different from that followed during many years; that the new lines 

lead to the stopping of debt-increase and gradually, by addi- 

taxation, to a reduction of the debt; that an agreement should 

be had with the fiscal authorities of the City whereby these new notes 

would be paid off by the issue of long-time corporate stock, to the 

extent that that could properly be done, and that the revenue bonds 

which are issued against taxes to come in, and in arrears, should be 

paid off from taxation within a period of two years. 

It was stated that undoubtedly the banks would desire to do what 
they could, but that they could not do anything upon such a scale 
without the knowledge of the Secretary of the Treasury and the 
Comptroller of the Currency; that the banks might be obliged to 
further reduce their cash reserves in order to protect the City's 
credit ; and that it would be necessary also for the Treasury Depart- 
ment to permit New York City obligations to be used as security for 
the emergency currency to a somewhat larger extent than might have 
been expected. You asked to what extent I thought this might go, 
and I said I did not know probably 30%. You understand of 
course that this figure is entirely guesswork, and that each transaction 
would have to be taken on its own merits. 

i 7 8 P. DAVISON 

Tkt New York trying its 

to get as as could be, but It 

be as went on for It to ask for help from the 

1 you and the Comptroller of the Cur- 

favor the the New York felt It 

to to preserve the credit of New York 

City; of you could no commitment In regard to 

it, bat the circumstances, you would have no 

to a transaction; that, if It came to a question of help 

the Treasury, if the Treasury was satisfied that any part of the 

in of help and had done the best it could for itself, 

the Treasury would give to New York or any part of the country in 

help as it properly could. 

I you that we hoped to be able to pay off the New York City 
when due, with as little shipment of gold as possible by 
the purchase of exchange as and when made by the shipment of grain 
and other materials to Great Britain and France, and that various 
have to do with exchange transactions would be interested 
to whenever they could in this direction. At the same time, to 

assure the City that its obligations payable abroad can be 
met, it is necessary to form a party commanding sufficient gold to 
fulfill the obligation in case the fortunes of war should unhappily 
render it impossible to make shipments of foodstuffs across the Atlan- 
tic, and, therefore, impossible to purchase bills of exchange. 

This, I think is the sum of what was said in regard to that matter. 
I am to keep you advised as to conditions and as to the way this 
special transaction progresses. 

If the foregoing is in accord with your recollection, I shall be glad 
of your confirmation of it. 

With kind regards, I am, dear Mr. Secretary, 
Yours very truly, 

J. P. Morgan. 

A careful analysis was made of the securities which 
New York City could legally issue. It was determined 
that It was to the best Interest of the city to sell short- 
time notes rather than long-term bonds; this, because 
of the disorganized financial conditions prevailing, with 
the Stock Exchange closed* and the probability that a 

*Tfae New York Stock Exchange had been closed on July 31. It reopened 
for trading In bonds tinder restrictions on November 28, and for limited 

rate of to be 

any It 

to an not 

to of the as 

but to care of the city's 

the tax fell were 

the of the principal la Greater 

New York. The result the very contract 

was formally entered Into on September 10, 

1914, but which was practically concluded time 

that date, inasmuch as Davison on September 

4 1914, In the firm name addressed to Comptroller 

Prendergast a letter signed jointly by J. P. Morgan & 

Co. and Kuhn, Loeb & Co., undertaking to form a 

syndicate to carry out the contract, actually signed six 


The nature of this contract was twofold: first, the 
one hundred twenty-six participating banks of Greater 
New York agreed to buy, In designated proportions, 
of one, two, and three year six per cent 
notes, the money to be left by the city upon deposit 
with the banks, subject to call and bearing Interest 
at 2 per cent; second, up to an amount of $80,243,940.47 
(needed to meet the foreign-held obligations), the par- 
ticipating banks agreed as called upon to furnish gold 
to the city. 

J. P. Morgan & Co. had Invited Kuhn, Loeb & Co. 
to become associated with them as syndicate managers. 
The managers were empowered to resell the notes to 
the public for account of the participating banks, the 
notes being offered to the public at exactly the price 
at which the banks had bought them from the city. 
The syndicate managers were also empowered by the 

trading In stocks under restrictions on December 12. It was not until April 
i, 1915, that all restrictions were removed. 


to how to withdraw the 

the They from the 

funds or gold ? subject to the 

if were called for, the 

the was made could^ at their op- 

pay In approved sterling or franc bills at a rate 

to the estimated cost of shipping gold. The 

of $80,243,94047 was reached by estimating a rate 

of of $5.035 for each pound sterling and 20 

for each franc. The syndicate managers under- 

on behalf of the syndicate, to discharge all the 

and franc notes of the city at a maximum cost 

to the city of this $80,243,94047. 

The net profit to the syndicate from the exchange 
operation was limited to 2 per cent upon said $8o r 
243,94047. It was clear that, if exchange should fall 
below $5.035 for the pound and 20 cents for the franc, 
there would be a profit; if it should advance, there 
would be a loss, except so far as the syndicate should 
use gold to make the payments. Any profit above the 
2 per cent was to go to the city ; any loss was to be borne 
by the syndicate. The syndicate managers acted en- 
tirely without compensation, nor did they become 
members of the syndicate, except to cover the "slack" 
resulting from the fact that a few banks declined to 
take their pro rata participation. 

Davison's services In organizing this remarkable 
consortium of banks were of the first rank. He was 
largely responsible for determining the basis of division 
of the syndicate liability among the different banks of 
the city, this basis determining the amount for which 
they could respectively be called upon for gold pay- 
ments. The basis of the apportionment was, after pro- 
tracted discussions, settled as approximately 4 per cent 
of the net deposits of each bank in the city. This 

In an in the 

of a 

for the of had to be 

by the of 

of the 
This work, to a fell on 

It be remembered of the one 

twenty-six in the syndicate had a 

of directors f despite all is 

domination, leadership pri- 

marily upon character, courage, and judgment The 
in person^ in a very short period, of the repre- 
of large number of banks; the making 
clear to them the complexity of the problem, the need 
of its solution, and the great advantages^ to the credit 
of the city and to the whole community, in the cou- 
rageous and moral course of performing one f s obliga- 
; this was the task, and it required the unremitting 
effort of the whole Morgan organization during anxious 
days and nights. The negotiations with the city were 
led by J. P. Morgan and Davison in person. The 
organization of the group of banks was peculiarly the 
work of Harry Davison. His wide knowledge of the 
bank personnel, his unusual combination of courage and 
persuasiveness, made him the man best fitted in New 
York to enlist the cooperation of all the banks. 

The actual contract with the city was signed late in 
the evening of September 10, 1914, as a matter of fact, 
about two o'clock in the morning. That same night 
notices were sent to the banks calling for their first 
payment Payment for the notes in dollar funds was 
to be made at the office of J. P. Morgan & Co. on the 
following day, September n. On that day a temporary 
office of the Comptroller of the City, in charge of a 
deputy comptroller, and a temporary office of the City 


In of the Chamberlain's repre- 

in the of J. P. Morgan 

& Co. The delivered to the Comp- 

for their full subscription, receiving the 
securities. The Comptroller immediately 

checks to the City Chamberlain, the 
City Chamberlain opened deposit accounts with the 
participating banking institutions so far as they tech- 
nically could be approved as city depositaries. 

On Wednesday, September 16, the participating 
were called upon by J. P. Morgan & Co. to pay 
over $8,257,400 in gold, which was sufficient to take 
care of all of the city's obligations maturing in London 
up to September 28. Without waiting for that pay- 
ment, however, J. P. Morgan & Co., on September 16, 
had shipped $6,600,000 In gold to Ottawa under an 
arrangement with the Bank of England, by which gold 
delivered to it in Ottawa could be made available at 
once as a credit In London. 

On September 17, 1914, J. P, Morgan & Co. and 
Kiihn, Loeb & Co. offered for account of the banking 
syndicate the $100,000,000 of corporate stock notes 
and revenue bonds for public subscription. The offer- 
Ing was made broadcast throughout the United States, 
and J. P. Morgan & Co. alone received over five thou- 
sand applications aggregating $116,193,500. Allot- 
ments were materially scaled down, and the notes went 
to an early premium, thus making a conspicuous suc- 
cess of the first public financial offering of any magni- 
tude, attempted after the outbreak of the War, By this 
public sale, the banks were relieved of the notes which 
they had taken, except so far as they voluntarily became 
subscribers to the notes. The banks, of course, re- 
mained under their obligation to repay the city's deposit 
In gold until the entire $80,243,940.47 was drawn. 


to the 

of the and 

to As the to 

an the 

Approximately ia 

to Ottawa to be to the of 

for account of Morgan, Grenfcll & Co. of 
This credit by Morgan, Grenfell 

& Co. to up the New York City as 

The balance of the exchange on London 
was either furnished by the 

of the syndicate or purchased In the open market when 

reached a point where it was cheaper to buy 

than to ship gold. Similarly, the maturities 

in Paris were met by purchasing exchange on Paris or 

by authorizing Morgan, Harjes & Co. of Paris to draw 

on London. 

In August it had been estimated that it would re- 
quire $80,2435940.47 to meet the city's maturities. The 
actual amount required, however, was $78,167,352.32, 
leaving a profit of $2,076,588.15, of which the syndicate 
was entitled to retain $1,604,878.81, and the balance, 
amounting to $471,709.345 was repaid by the syndicate 
managers to the City of New York in January, 1915. 
The early announcement of the negotiations had been 
made by Comptroller Prendergast in a public state- 
ment, quoted in The Commercial and Financial 
Chronicle of September 12, 1914, as follows: 

September 5, 1914. 

It is with the very greatest gratification, as the 
city's financial officer, that I am giving to you the 
proposal from Messrs. J. P. Morgan & Co. and 
Messrs. Kuhn, Loeb & Co, This proposal represents 
the successful completion of four weeks of unremit- 

1 84 P. DAVISON 

to for the city the necessary 

to it to discharge its very 

From the very beginning the 
of course, proved our 

Four ago I called on Messrs. J. P. Morgan 

& Co. explained the city's exact condition. I 
Mr. Morgan not only sympathetic but willing 
in the emphatic way to help all he could, and 

one of his first statements to me was that in anything 
he might undertake his firm did not wish to make 
any money out of the city. In fact when it was at 
one time proposed that the city had a perfect right 
to pay a commission of 54% for services in securing 
its accommodations s Mr. Morgan rejected the idea. 

It will be observed that the proposed agreement 
does not contemplate any profit for actual services 
rendered as syndicate managers to either Messrs. 
J. P. Morgan & Co. or Messrs. Kuhn, Loeb & Co., 
and I am certain the people of the city will, as they 
should, appreciate the fine spirit of civic interest in 
which these gentlemen have undertaken this tremen- 
dous task. 

One thing in regard to the proposed agreement 
which it seems to me is most impressive is the demo- 
cratic nature of the undertaking. Every bank in the 
City of New York is to be invited to participate in 
aiding the city to discharge its financial obligations. 
It is not to be the work of any coterie or faction, but 
the undivided work of all the banks of the city. 

No one must imagine, because New York City is 
about to secure the funds it will require to discharge 
its obligations for the balance of the year, that we 
are in any position to depart from the policy of rea- 
sonable economy and retrenchment already under 


In It is to 

the of for 

any are 

The work is 

under contract^ with the of transit, 

and water supply (which are in the self- 

class) , it is to for in 

the form of fifteen-year serial bonds. The of 

will be in the first years to put a somewhat larger 

in the budget than if fifty-year bonds were 

but the gross outlay, principal and interest, 

under this system, will be many millions less than if 

term bonds were issued. " 

The people of the city should bear in mind that a 
fifty-year bond, before it is canceled, means that the 
city has disbursed three times the amount of the orig- 
inal outlay. 


by the British mid French Governments 

im Preliminary ducmsfiomf by Damson m London as to 

Arrival of the Anh~French Loan Mission tinder 
Lerd Difficult and protracted negotiations Final success 

of the A landmark among financial operations 

TV YG POSSIBLE estimate could ever have been made of 
JL >l Ac enormous tangible benefits flowing to Amer- 
ican agriculture and industry from the proceeds of the 
great Anglo-French Loan of $500,000,000, issued in 
October, 1915. Sixty per cent of its proceeds was ex- 
pended in the Mississippi Valley alone. It was a strik- 
ing operation the first piece of important War financ- 
ing for any of the foreign governments, in which 
Davison played a conspicuous part. 

There were three ways and three ways only 
through which the Allied Governments could find 
means of payment for their rapidly growing purchases 
in the American markets. One was to ship gold. And 
such shipments of gold up to April 6, 1917 (the date 
when the United States declared war against Germany) 
amounted to over a billion dollars. 

A second way was to mobilize, or gather together, 
masses of American securities held chiefly by British 
investors only a limited amount by French and sell 
these in the American investment market. This plan 
was followed on an extensive scale. The British Gov- 
ernment would buy from its citizens their American 
investment holdings, paying therefor in British Gov- 

OF 1915 187 


of for in New York This was 

on the an one for In- 

in It for a 

for in the of the 

American corporations which, then, 

to realize unprecedently satisfactory 
the increasingly heavy purchases of the Allied 

The third of finding money for their Amer- 

requirements was for the Allied Governments 
the British and French) to borrow money in 
the American markets. Early in the War the members 
of the Morgan firm realized the benefits which 
accrue to America's export trade, if the Allies 
were able to find adequate credit facilities here. This 
a leading consideration which prompted J. P. Mor- 
gan & Co. to undertake the burden of leadership in 
practically all of the public loan operations in America, 
of the British and French Governments during the first 
three years of the War. It was manifestly to the dis- 
tinct advantage of the American community to extend 
credit on such a scale to the Allied Governments as 
would enable the latter to continue their enormous 
purchases of American grain, cotton, copper, steel, 
leather and other products. 

After the War was well over, the cry began to be 
raised that American bankers had dragged the United 
States Government into the conflict in order, as it was 
often put, "to make good their foreign loans. 11 Of 
course, any such charge was so absurd and unwarranted 
as to be ridiculous. It could be believed by no one not 
misled by prejudice. The total amount of unsecured 
loans, issued in America by the British and French 
Governments and outstanding at the time America en- 


the War, did not exceed $500,000,000, and 

been any valid doubt of their 
At the of their issue they had been widely 
throughout the American investment com- 
and were not contrary to common belief' 
in by bankers. 

During the period when the American agricultural 
and industrial community was so manifestly benefiting 
the proceeds of the Allied loans in America, com- 
paratively little was heard of the allegations that I 
of. It remained for sensational writers of a later 
day to draw a false and fantastic picture of an informed 
and patriotic Congress, entering a world war, in which 
it was destined to authorize outlays of close to thirty 
billions of dollars including eleven billions in loans 
to these Allied Governments all at the behest of crafty 
bankers- a picture so ridiculous as to refute itself by 
the mere statement of it. 

But we must take up the story of the first of these 
important Allied credit operations, and of Davison's 
part in it Because of his close personal contacts with 
members of the British Government and the confidence 
which they early bestowed upon him, it was easy for 
him to understand the considerations affecting British 
policy, and the general relationship which it bore to 
the whole Allied programme of American commodity 
purchases. On the other hand, his outstanding per- 
sonality and his wide acquaintance among American 
bankers were of high value at times when the coopera- 
tion of the banking community was important to the 
success of these Allied credit operations, which were 
contributing so much to America's trade revival. 

The weeks which Davison spent in London in De- 
cember of 1914 and early January of 1915 gave him 
his first clear idea of the Allied financial problems, and 

OF 1915 189 

of the in be so as to 

the of the 

to this in 

out like the for 

the in the 

by the temporary of 

of the existing credit machinery. One of 
the Cotton Loan Pool, organized to provide a 
for financing the Southern crop. Another 

problem was the question which had under 
between representatives of the British 
Treasury and a committee of New York bankers. It 
involved the establishment of reciprocal credits to be 
as and when required, for the stabilizing of ex- 
change. The plan for such a credit, amounting to 
2O l ooo l ooo 1 was satisfactorily shaped up, but the 

was never utilized. 

The larger subject of direct British Government 
borrowing did not come up when Davison first arrived 
in London. In conferences there with the Governor 
of the Bank of England, Walter later Lord Cunliffe^ 
Davison learned that the Government did not feel that 
the time was ripe for seeking a loan in the United 
States. The possibility^ however, of a loan to the 
Roumanian Government was discussed. A necessary 
condition of any such loan would, of course, have been 
that, as to the American markets, it must bear the 
guarantee of the British Government But the British 
Government itself finally abandoned the whole plan. 
It was not until December 16, at a luncheon attended 
by several of the leading British officials and by Davi- 
son, that the question of an American loan came up for 
consideration. Mr. Lloyd George, then Chancellor of 
the Exchequer, inquired of Davison whether J. P. Mor- 
gan & Co. would, in case of need say, six months later 

i 9 o P. DAVISON 

be In a to with the British Govern- 

for American financing. Davison 

the would be Interested in doing anything 
and indicated that some operation might be 
earlier, perhaps In late February or 

The officials formulating British policies soon came 
to high value upon Davlson's advice, and sought 

it dally throughout his stay in London. Upon 

one occasion Mr. Asqulth, then Prime Minister, with 
Davison, and Mr. Lloyd George and other Brit- 
ish leaders, were conferring, turned and asked one of 
associates to show Davison a cable just in from 
Russia. This official was apparently reluctant to show 
the message, but the Prime Minister Insisted that he 
wanted to have Davison's advice in the matter. There- 
upon, this cable, which was of highly confidential and 
serious import and related to the question of giving 
financial assistance to Russia, was produced. After 
Davison had read It, he remarked that It was a "pretty 
tall order" for him to express an opinion when he was so 
completely Ignorant of the circumstances surrounding 
the matter. He was bold enough to say, however, that 
if his opinion were wanted, he would be glad to give It 
in general terms. It was: that the sooner the Allies 
got together at one table the better it would be for 
their interests ; In his opinion, that was the way to win 
the War. He urged strongly that with respect to finance 
and supply, and, indeed, as to all the questions which 
might develop In connection with the War, It was of 
prime Importance that the Allies should sit down to- 
gether, and stay there until the War was completed. 

As to the specific but complex question raised In re- 
gard to financial assistance for Russia, he urged that 
Instead of attempting to cable an answer, the Cabinet 

OF 1915 191 

for the of the and up the 

to With 


the to his or not 

the of American af all, 

it is not 

were held IE Paris at the 

of the British, French and Russian 
for the first time, sit down at one table and 
of their financial resources. 

When Davison first reached England on par- 
ticular trip, he received word from his Paris partner, 
Herman Harjes, that the French Government officials 
informed him that they would be pleased to discuss 
the matter of their financial resources in the United 
States. So, taking advantage of a lull in the British 
discussions in regard to purchasing, Davison went to 
Paris and conferred there, on January 8, with M. J. 
de Margerie, Permanent Under-Secretary of Foreign 
Affairs, and with M. Ribot, Minister of Finance. With 
each of these officials, he reviewed the history of the 
discussions with the French Government that had taken 
place in the early weeks of the War. He also recalled 
the house's traditional good-will for France, dating 
back to 1871, when Junius Spencer Morgan, the elder, 
helped to finance the French indemnity to Germany. 

As far, however, as a public loan offering was con- 
cerned, Davison explained that Mr. Morgan and his 
partners in New York thought the wisest course was to 
let the situation rest for the moment, until the extent 
of Britain's needs for the wholesale purchase of Amer- 
ican supplies had been clarified, and the time should 
have become ripe for a more comprehensive operation. 
Various minor schemes for enabling the French Gov- 
ernment to accumulate cash reserves in New York were 

i 9 2 P. DAVISON 

others, Davison suggested the re- 
sale to the Pennsylvania Railroad Company of its 3^4 
per franc of 1906. Much later in the War 
the of this plan was recognized, and the Penn- 

Company franc bonds, which had been ac- 
quired by the French Government from the French 
of the bonds, were then sold to the Pennsylvania 
Railroad for dollars in New York. 

In April, 1915, J. P. Morgan & Co. consented to 
bring out a French Republic one-year loan, which was 
successfully issued in the amount of $30,000,000. And 
again in June,, the French received substantial help 
through the so-called de Rothschild Freres Loan of 
approximately $40,000,000, one of the firm's early 
activities in behalf of the French Government. This 
operation involved the utilization of Chicago, Milwau- 
kee & St. Paul Railway and Pennsylvania Company 
franc securities, turned in by French nationals in ex- 
change for the new National Defense Bonds of their 
own country. 

The British Treasury, in these early months of 1915, 
had been successful in maintaining cash balances in 
New York without recourse to any large public loan. 
It became clear, however, that with the enormous pay- 
ments for supplies purchased in the United States, a 
large-sized loan would soon become In order for issu- 
ance on the American market. The American demand 
for pounds sterling was light, but the British demand 
for dollars had grown so heavy that it looked as if it 
might prove difficult for Britain to maintain the pound 
at its normal value in dollars. Any material deprecia- 
tion In the exchange value of the pound would have 
a disastrous effect upon the British programme of pur- 
chases in America. The situation thus became one of 
growing concern to the British Treasury and to Amer- 

OF 1915 193 

agricultural as well. 

and the 
of for In a 

early in June, 1915, to 
the British authorities what be 

to the strain. He conferred with the Chancellor 

of the Exchequer the Governor of the of 

England In regard to the exchange situation. He 

with Mr. Harjes, who met in London, in 
to France's problem. He had In mind the pos- 
sibility of a loan, either jointly to the British and 
French, or to the British alone. But In the confusion 
attendant upon a change in ministries, the British 
Treasury was unable to decide upon a line of action. 
The various officials Davlson talked with were, ap- 
parently, not greatly concerned over the situation, feel- 
ing In the last analysis that they could always ship gold. 

In endeavoring to develop the situation, he Inquired 
of his New York office as to the possibilities of Issuing 
a large British loan. In sounding out the situation, the 
Morgan partners found almost no encouragement One 
of the factors responsible for an Increasing coolness to 
a British loan was the effect of the terrible reverses 
being experienced by the Russian armies, and the fail- 
ure of the British to carry out the long-heralded drive 
on the Western Front. In addition. Investment busi- 
ness was poor and the New York bond market flat 

Davlson was compelled, therefore, to return to New 
York with little accomplished, believing the situation 
even more serious, Inasmuch as he had ascertained that, 
with their growing purchases of American wheat, the 
exchange requirements of Great Britain and France to 
the end of 1915 would be approximately $400,000,000. 

This was the summer In which an attempt was made 

i 9 4 P. DAVISON 

on the life of Mr. Morgan. The account of all this 
of fully at the time, and it is hardly 

to recall the matter, except in so far as it 
the apparent effort, on the part of either cranks 
or German sympathizers, to cripple the plans of the 
Governments for purchasing supplies in the 
United States. The attack was made at Mr. Morgan's 
Island home. Although two bullets from the 
revolver struck Mr. Morgan, the wounds 
were in no wise serious, and within a few weeks he was 
at his office. His own presence of mind and over- 
powering rush upon his assailant had saved his life. 

The month of August, 1915, brought some promise 
of relief in the shape of the first systematic utilization 
of British-owned American securities, a large shipment 
of which arrived from England, on August n. In 
this same month the French Treasury, now thoroughly 
aroused, reached an understanding, in Paris, with the 
British Minister of Finance in regard to a joint loan 
operation in the United States. Therefrom developed 
the Anglo-French Loan of $500,000,000, issued on 
October 15, 1915* In all the negotiations with the 
Joint High Loan Commission, which preceded an 
agreement, and in the difficult task of floating a loan 
four times larger than any the American public had 
ever been called upon to make, Davison took a leading 

The Commission, headed by Lord Reading, Lord 
Chief Justice of England, arrived in New York on 
September 10, 1915, and was met by J. P. Morgan and 
Davison. Actual negotiations began on Monday morn- 
ing, September 13, at a session which Morgan, Davison 
and myself held with the commissioners at the Hotel 
Biltmore. The commissioners had arrived with only 
a vague idea of the conditions prevailing in the United 

OF 1915 195 

They had the 

be to and 

any of at a 

at the it to and 

his a of 

be necessary. 

Days in discussions. The in 

with the commissionerSj 
conferences with representatives of the lead- 
ing New York banks and banking houses. In one of 
the discussions that the Morgan partners with 
the Commission, they advised Lord Reading in 
view of the importance of the transaction to American 
as well as to Allied interests, they would accept no 
compensation for their services. 

Finally, on September 25, an arrangement was 
reached. The Morgan firm was to endeavor to form 
a syndicate which would underwrite, that is, guarantee, 
the purchase of $500,000,000 of bonds which should be 
the joint obligation of the British and French Govern- 
ments. The bonds were to bear interest at 5 per cent, 
were to mature in five years and could be converted, 
at the option of the holder, into British-French bonds 
bearing 4^ per cent interest, with a later maturity. 
The syndicate was to underwrite the whole issue at a 
price of 96, and to offer it to the public at 98. Inci- 
dentally, it may be noted that this entire issue has now 
been paid off* 

Then came the question whether the firm would be 
able to mobilize the banking community to an extent 
sufficient to get the $500,000,000 issue underwritten. 
The organization necessary to handle the Anglo-French 
loan was tremendous. It required the largest group for 
distributing bonds ever organized in the United States. 
In it, were 1,570 members representing all parts of the 

i 9 6 P. DAVISON 

Its consisted of sixty-one 

companies, and investment houses In New 

By October 13, the total amount of the underwriting 
of the firings own subscription, was for 
of bondSy and, on October 14, the arrange- 
concluded by the Commission in behalf of 
the British and the French Governments, and by J. P. 
Morgan & Co. as agents for the syndicate managers. 
It so happened that agreements, covering particlpa- 
amounting to something like $162,000,000, were 
not yet in hand. But to enable the members of the 
Commission to sail on the following day, as they had 
planned, J. P. Morgan & Co. assumed the responsibility 
Involved. At a time when underwriting pledges of only 
$320,000,000 had been secured and there seemed grave 
doubt as to whether the gap could be filled, Mr. Mor- 
gan said to his partners: u The firm must, regardless of 
the risk, commit itself to do this task. I have faith 
that the necessary participations will be forthcoming 
to help us out, whether they come from the sky or the 
earth or the waters under the earth." 

The distribution of this huge loan issue was a mem- 
orable achievement. In the American community, 
there were millions of German-born, or citizens of 
German parentage. These groups were especially 
powerful In centres like Cincinnati, Chicago, Milwau- 
kee and St. Louis. Naturally such groups as a whole, 
with certain notable exceptions, were openly hostile to 
the cause of the Allies. Ably abetting, and frequently 
outdoing them, were certain other elements which re- 
joiced at every development unfavorable to British 
success. Such groups had aroused a deep feeling of 
hostility against the loan, and the public demand for 
bonds had been greatly lessened by the necessity of 

OF 1915 197 

of the as 

to be 

to an 

the country. Bet the by the 

American a for the 


The on the part of the 

of Drexel & Co., including the partners of 
their customers, amounted to over 
it be noted that neither the firm as 

for the managers of the Loan, nor the managers them- 
made any charge for their services. The syndl- 
to deduct its costs of advertising and selling 
the margin of 2 per cent between cost and sale 
price, and its only possible profit lay in such residue, 
if any, as there might be after the work had been 

In Chicago^ there were so many thousands of Ger- 
man-sympathizing depositors among the banks that the 
officers of the leading institutions, fearing heavy with- 
drawals by such depositors, decided it to be more 
prudent to have nothing to do with the projected loan 
and to refrain from joining the Eastern banks in help- 
ing to underwrite it 

There was, however, among the Chicago banks one 
striking exception. That was the Central Trust Com- 
pany of Illinois, headed by Charles G. Dawes ? later 
Vice-President of the United States and more recently 
Ambassador to Great Britain. Mr. Dawes (he had not 
then won his title of General through his effective 
work with the A. E. R in France) declared that the 
operation was important from the American, and every 
other reasonable viewpoint ; that he approved the great 
efforts which the Morgan firm was making, and was 
determined to do what he could to help in the situation. 

i 9 8 P. DAVISON 

He had for satisfaction In the 

he for when It was first announced 

his an underwriter of the loan, a considerable 

of so-called German-American deposits was 
later they flowed back, and were supple- 
by heavy fresh deposits from individuals 

which approved General Dawes 1 fine and 
vigorous action. 

Throughout an extremely difficult situation. Lord 
Reading had displayed extraordinary firmness and per- 
sistence, as well as great intelligence. He not only had 
a novel set of circumstances to meet, but in addition 
the Commission of which he was the head was not alto- 
gether like-minded and was hard to handle. When the 
success of the loan was assured, Davison suggested, as 
a strategic move, that Lord Reading and his Mission 
should visit Chicago, for the purpose of paying its re- 
spects to the great commercial and banking community 
of the Middle West, especially inasmuch as sixty per 
cent of the proceeds of the projected loan was to be 
spent in the Mississippi Valley. I was designated to 
escort Lord Reading and his colleagues to Chicago, 
where their welcome, to tell the truth, was not over- 
warm, because Chicago had no great hankering to take 
a share of the loan. Nevertheless that community, 
abounding in hospitality as it does, paid due honor to 
its distinguished visitor, who, as has been noted, was 
then the Lord Chief Justice of England. 

So Chicago gave to the Mission a banquet, and I 
well recall the skill with which Lord Reading met that 
trying occasion. It was a trying one, because he re- 
alized that his audience had gathered out of respect 
to his office and his title as Lord Chief Justice, rather 
than to show any sympathy in the projected operation 
that was so vital to the Allied cause. Indeed, that 

OF 1915 199 

out by of 

to and he was 

to he was a but 

not a of 

did not to talk very 

the He of it, to be sere; he 

it out as a necessity^ if the of his Govern- 

were to on a large from our 

and merchants. But he did not ask for Chicago's co- 
operation. What he did say was more effective. He 
it was a rare privilege for him to be in 
Chicago, and he went on to describe how, years before, 
he come near making his home in Chicago. It 
as a growing lad, jest finished his 

he had determined to come to America and 
to his way in the New World. He had decided to 

in Chicago. His trunk was packed and he was 
to sail from Liverpool, when, suddenly, the death 
of a near relative changed all his plans and kept him 
in England. 

And, as Lord Reading told the story of how nearly 
he had become a fellow-citizen of his hearers, there 
crept a something into his voice that was as if he were 
saying in words although he did not say it in words 
just about this : "Ah, my friends, who knows but that, 
if instead of stopping in humble England, pursuing the 
dull round of the law and finally attaining a mere Lord 
Chief Justiceship, I might have come out here, have 
settled in your midst ? have become one of your leading 
men of business, who knows, I say, but that I should 
have been a happier and at least a better man today!" 
Those, as I have said, were not the words that Lord 
Reading used, but so strong was the impression that he 
gave, that when he had finished his speech his audience. 


more eager, sighed with the satis- 
of sentiment, stormed the speaker with 

applause; the diners leaned over and allowed to 

their that Lord Reading was a fine man 

would have made a great Chicagoan ! 


of to Huge 

of American by 


of to New York 

War had started in August 1914. A year 
JL elapsed before the Allies had come to a realization 
of the task that was on their hands a measured In 
of marshalling man-power and financial re- 
sources, and of gathering together the vast quantities 
of and munitions required for the prosecution 

of the conflict. When the first year had passed^ both 
Great Britain and France were at last going full speed 
in all the huge enterprises that furnish backing for 
aggressive tactics. By this time, Great Britain was 
summoning aid from her colonies overseas, and so was 

The Allied purchases In American markets were 
already on a great scale and constantly on the Increase. 
The proceeds of the Anglo-French Loan of October 
1915 had already found their way largely Into the pay 
envelopes of Industrial workers In the Monongahelaj 
the Ohio and the Mississippi River valleys. Gold was 
coming Into -America by the millions. American secu- 
rities, long held by European investors, were being 
shipped to New York by the bale and finding final 
lodgment In the hands of thrifty American Investors. 
Yet, with all the available Allied resources, a trying 
period was facing both the British and French Govera- 



la to provide funds promptly to 

for the of their American purchases. 

In It can readily be seen that the criti- 

cal In Allied financing In the United States 

In the six of 1916. Allied reverses at the 

had their natural effect upon Allied credit in the 
United States. Allied morale was under a severe strain ? 
and to neutral minds there seemed lack of unity In 
with common problems. British gold at 
Ottawa been shrinking steadily. To add to the 
gravity of the situation It was just at this time that 
Allied requirements of materials from the United States 
became most insistent and grew constantly heavier. 

Davison's presence In London, in the early fall of 
1916, has already been alluded to. He went there 
shortly after the first United Kingdom Loan of $250,- 
OGOjOoo had been issued in New York on September i, 
1916, secured by American stocks and bonds. In this 
respect^ that Is to say the feature of collateral security, 
the Loan differed radically from the Anglo-French 
Loan of a year previous. 

One morning It was about the first of October 
Davison received a telephone call asking him to break- 
fast at Mr. Lloyd George's official residence In Down- 
ing Street. When he arrived about nine o'clock, he 
found Mr. Lloyd George and Lord Reading In a state 
of great anxiety. Mr. Lloyd George explained that 
they were greatly concerned about the needs of their 
War programme and the state of their financial re- 
sources. He pointed out that it was absolutely neces- 
sary for them to have an average of $300,000,000 
monthly from America through the next five months, 
or else the whole British programme of American pur- 
chases would have to be slashed. He asked Davison 
if they could count on getting this $i ,500,000,000 from 

BY 203 

the In the of 

he the 

In the be 

J. P. & Co. not by 

any It, nor in a 

to say la be 

to a credit available. His 

ficd : "Proceed as you to 

get the money. 11 

There was another meeting day at which there 
were present: Mr. Balfour, Lord Grey, Lord Reading, 
Mr. Lloyd George, J. P. Morgan, who had just 
IE London, Davlson. Mr. Lloyd George an- 

that he was glad to be able to say that Davisoa 
assured him that the British Government's finan- 
cial requirements could be met in the United States 
during the next five months, Davlson was quick to 
Interpose, as he had had occasion to do In discussing 
the matter with Mr. Lloyd George on the previous day, 
explaining that he had not said quite what was at- 
tributed to him. On the contrary he had said, and 
was only too willing to repeat, that In his judgment 
the British Government "should proceed as though 
they were going to be able to fulfill their needs." Mr. 
Morgan, when appealed to, gave his strong judgment 
as the same as his partner's. Such advice, coming In 
identical terms from both Morgan and Davlson, the 
British statesmen, like Mr. Lloyd George, were natu- 
rally Inclined to accept, taking It as equivalent to the 
assurance they so strongly desired. 

Still another meeting was arranged, this one held 
on the following day at the Treasury. French repre- 
sentatives were also in attendance, for Anglo-French 
financial arrangements were under discussion. J. P. 


were present at this meeting, 

no change should be in 

the War which was based upon arrang- 

ing for aggregating at least $1,500,- 

the ensuing five months. Time was to 
emphatically the keen judgment that Davi- 
SOE expressed. The British War programme for 
the of American commodities and manufac- 

not altered. And ? as Davison had predicted, 
the funds were, from one source or another, forthcom- 
ing every month. 

From the start, it will be recalled, Davison had 
urged the Allies to greater effort in the way of coopera- 
tion. Visiting Paris at about this time, he again urged 
progress along these lines, and pointed out the advan- 
tages to the Allies in considering their American finan- 
cial programmes together. 

But close financial cooperation, when the prevailing 
views as to ways and means varied so greatly between 
the authorities in London and those in Paris, finally 
proved well-nigh impossible, and after October, 1915, 
each Government arranged by itself what credit in 
America was found to be necessary. Temporary financ- 
ing was resorted to, such as the collection and mobili- 
zation of American securities held by British or French 
investors abroad, and their pledge or sale in America. 

All these difficulties of close cooperation among the 
Allies difficulties which have, perhaps, been even 
more apparent in these years after the War are de- 
scribed in every book written since the War by any one 
of the officers of high command, be he Marshal Foch ? 
Earl Haig or General Pershing. Such difficulties were 
inherent In the nature of things. One recalls the Na- 
poleonic anecdote : Some one asked Bonaparte how he 
accounted for the extraordinary extent of his military 

BY 105 

"Because," said he, "I had 

a to 

At a of the at 

in an me the of one of the 

just as 

the of the I 

a of voices, la 


"How are Marshal?" 1 

Ing oa his graclousness to me on several previous occa- 

"Ah," he with a shrug and grimace l "la 
de la palxP 

To return to our narrative about Allied financing in 
America In this year 1916; 

On October 30^ 1916, when conditions appeared 
momentarily less unfavorable, a second United King- 
Loan, amounting to $3OO } ooOjGQOj had been offered 
In the United States ? the security and terms of which 
so strong an appeal that the offering was entirely 
successful. This offering was planned at the time a 
difficult adjustment was pending between the British 
Government and American rifle manufacturers over 
questions of cancellation of orders 5 the final settle- 
ment of which was facilitated In part through the 
efforts of J. P. Morgan & Co., as fully described In 
another chapter. More than half the proceeds of the 
new loan was utilized to pay off, on November 10, 
the firm's demand loan to the British Government, a 
loan which before the end of the month was renewed 
on a considerable scale. 

By this time, Davison had returned to New Yorfc^ 
and with Allied buying In American markets continu- 
ing on an ascending scale, he and his partners exerted 
themselves to find some way in which the increasing 


and French credit could be met. 

The of the Bank of England was unwavering 

la his to maintain sterling exchange in 

the of par, and had reported to the 

of the Exchequer that he hoped to be able 

to position for the next six months. Mr. 

remained in London for a time, and was 

informed as to what the British might 

during the ensuing three months, in order to 

to maintain the scale of their American 


In the United States, the outlook for dealing with 
situation was far from encouraging. Davison and 
his associates had succeeded in working up consider- 
able interest on the part of New York, Chicago^ and 
Boston bankers in a plan to handle short-term British 
Treasury bills. But neither the British nor the French 
authorities were ? as yet, prepared to proceed with this 
form of financing. 

Davison had talked with the President of the United 
States and with the Federal Reserve Board, and had 
come away from Washington by no means reassured as 
to what the attitude of the Federal authorities might be 
toward continued Allied financing in the United States. 
It was becoming apparent that all the authorities 
at Washington were desirous that the British and 
French Governments should be able to maintain here 
on a grand scale their purchases, which were yielding 
handsome returns to the American farmer and manu- 
facturer. Yet they had some misgivings as to whether 
the banking and investment community should con- 
tinue to make these purchases possible by undertaking 
to finance a substantial part of them. At the same 
time the American public was making it clear, by Its 
support of sound Allied loans, that the Allies, like any 

BY 207 

to be put In a to 

a of oa or oa 

be to a cut in 


a for 

the of 

ury of 

to six On 24, our 

to an as ; 

In to we arc to the 

French Government Treasuries the 

in of a of 

at from 30 to 6 

in form are much to New York City 

BiE% will be payable in In New York City. They 

be available for purchase on or 1st 

at largely upon money market conditions. 

The same day^ however, the Governor of the Federal 
Reserve Board at Washington warned the firm by tele- 
phone that the Board might decide that the Issuance of 
Treasury bills was so undesirable from the standpoint 
of American banks s as to compel it to Issue in the near 
future some public statement to that effect Late In 
the afternoon of November 27, a public statement from 
the Federal Reserve Board threw the fat Into the fire ? 
so to speak. The particular sentence which so severely 
prejudiced the Allied financial effort read as follows : 

The Board deems it, therefore, its duty to caution the member 
banks that it does not regard it in the Interest of the country at this 
time that they invest in foreign Treasury bills of this character. 

It was at once realized, on both sides of the water, 

that this statement was one of the most serious threats 
against the Allied plans of American purchases and of 
financing since the outbreak of the War. Not only did 

2o8 P. DAV1SON 

It the programme of disposing sue- 

of and French Treasury bills, but It 

difficult new borrowings on the part 

of the Allies. It even feared that American in- 

alarmed and throw on the market 
large of the Allied government securities which 

held. Naturally, American manufacturers and 
merchants were not at all happy, fearing a 
reduction in the Allied programme of Amer- 
ican purchases. 

The manner in which the Allied Governments met 
this crisis is worthy of some note. When the text of 
the Reserve Board's statement was received by the then 
Chancellor of the British Exchequer, Reginald Mc- 
KeEEa s he flashed back in return the following : "Chan- 
cellor would not wish to disregard the expressed wishes 
of the Federal Reserve Board of which Secretary of 
Treasury is a member, and therefore requests Messrs, 
JL P. Morgan & Co. not to issue the Treasury bills as 
arranged on December first." This was an attitude of 
sturdy independence and strength which met with 
favorable comment from the American public. 

And then, within two or three days, came further 
word from the British Chancellor, explaining that even 
if the Federal Reserve Board were not a department 
of the Government, yet, because the Secretary of the 
Treasury and the Comptroller of the Currency had 
seats on that Board, he could not but consider it as 
a Governmental body and as he would wish, regard- 
less of his own necessities, to do nothing distasteful to 
the American Government, the sale of the British 
Treasury bills must be dropped. He added, however, 
that every American account against the British Gov- 
ernment would be settled on the dot. He stated that he 
had mobilized the gold resources of the British Empire, 

BY 209 

of lay In 

be for Xew York. Not less 

or six In he, 

In of be to to 

the of the 

did he his 

In very 

the Treasury this re- 

for Its account la New York 
$138,000,000 in gold; In January, 1917, 
in February, $90,000,000; In March, a 

for four months of over 

And that gold came In all of different and 

from every quarter of the globe English sovereigns, 
bar gold from South Africa, French 
Japanese bullion, Russian Imperials, and even German 
twenty-mark pieces and American eagles. Some of the 
English sovereigns were s curiously enough, In the same 

In which they had been shipped to Paris and trans- 
ferred from there to Berlin^ when the French paid their 
Indemnity at the end of the Franco-Prussian War in 
1871. Thousands of the American eagles turned up In 
the original canvas bags In which, In 1904, they had 
been shipped by ]. P. Morgan & Co. to Paris In the 
settlement made by the United States Government with 
the French interests originally identified with the 
Panama Canal. 

One can see the picture: those fast British cruisers, 
with coffers gold-laden, creeping out from the Mersey, 
escaping the lurking German submarines, and then 
slipping around the North of Ireland, zig-zagging all 
the way across the Atlantic, fumbling through the fogs 
and mist of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and finally glid- 
ing up the river to Quebec, whence those precious. 


first to Ottawa and later 

to Hew York. came those Japanese cruisers, 

the vast Pacific, coming with gold from 

Japan, with the shipments made heavier 

the Russian hoard Russia, then still in 

the War, of her gold far to the East and 

the Pacific to America- This, then, was 

the in which the British Government kept faith. 

The generally disheartening effect of the Federal 
Reserve Board statement can readily be imagined. 
The Allied Governments naturally considered a drastic 
curtailment of purchases In the United States, and the 
report became current that the British would probably 
divert to Canada a tremendous volume of orders for 
1917. Here again Davison displayed his steadfastness. 
In advising the British authorities on November 29, he 
upon taking an encouraging view. He urged 
that the apparent rebuff be accepted as the fortunes of 
war, and expressed the confidence of his partners and 
himself that the situation, by the end of the year, would 
become less difficult. The encouragement was sorely 
needed. The future proved the confidence to be well 

Some idea of the scale of the Allies' financial opera- 
tions at this time, with their stimulating effect upon 
American industry, may be given by pointing out that 
purchases of American products, as carried out under 
the arrangements outlined by Davison, involved the 
payment during the five months beginning December i, 
1916, of approximately $1,300,000,000. In the face 
of Britain's Increasing purchases of American commod- 
ities and manufactures, the need for additional credits 
was manifest And on January 18, 1917, a syndicate 
was formed to underwrite the so-called Third United 
Kingdom Loan for $250,000,000. The notes which 

BY 211 

at 5>"i to la 

years. They by of 

The of the 

In the of the in 

the previous November by the 

Further, the It in 

the British Government to Its pur- 

chases in the United rather to 

And an expression of and 

was received from Lord Cunllffe the Deputy 
Governor of the Bank of England, as well as the 

Chancellor of the Exchequer. 

Meantime, the French had been their turn. 

The question of offering a French Government in 
the United States was under discussion between the 
New York and Paris houses throughout January, 
1917. Plans for such an issue gradually shape. 

The German note of January 31, received by the 
United States Government, announcing unrestricted 
submarine warfare 5 brought about a violent break in 
the New York stock market and made any immediate 
financing out of the question. Indeed, so complete a 
financial deadlock was created that it became plain to 
J. P. Morgan, to Davison and to their partners that 
the country's export trade was likely to be seriously 

On March 8, 1917, however^ a statement was issued 
by the Federal Reserve Board, going a long way to- 
ward removing what was left of the discouraging im- 
pression created by the statement of the preceding 
November. The Board now expressed its desire "to 
make clear that it did not seek to create an unfavorable 
attitude on the part of American investors toward de- 


securities, to emphasize the point 

available for Investment may, 

to the country's foreign trade and the 

situation^ be employed in the pur- 

of securities," 

The gradually improving market situation was 
by these modified views, and on March 19, 
1917, two-year, 5^ per cent, convertible, secured notes 
of the French Government, to the amount of $ioo r 
were offered to the public, and were over- 
subscribed by almost $16,000,000, in the ten days dur- 
ing which the books remained open. 

This was the last operation in Allied financing that 
took place prior to the end of the War. With the entire 
acquiescence of the authorities at Washington, a post- 
War United Kingdom Loan of $250,000,000 was issued 
by J. P. Morgan & Co. on November i, 1919; and two 
French Republic loans, of September 15, 1920, and 
June i, 1921, respectively, each amounting to $100,- 
000,000, were successfully brought out But in this 
later period, Davison had been seized with the illness 
which caused his death and, despite his undiminished 
personal interest, was able to give only a lessened atten- 
tion to the business of the firm. His great work for 
Allied finance had been accomplished in those days of 
the War that were dark and critical, and that required 
just the courageous imagination and tenacity that no 
other man, to the same extent as Davison, could bring 
to bear. 

Another plan, which Davison and his partners had 
developed for increasing the Allies' available balances 
in America, consisted of the sale of American secu- 
rities mobilized from British and French holders for 
liquidation on the American markets. Such liquida- 
tion had to be handled by the Morgan firm with great 

BY 213 

to the of the 

and to the of In- 

The of 

by the Its 

for the 

very to 

the not as 

to the long-term or 
to by the British Government the Morgan 

its American associates. 

The of American securities, by the 

French Government from Its nationals, was far 

In the British case, amounted to only 
$5i l ocx} 5 oGO l including the franc bonds of the Pennsyl- 
vania Company and the St. Paul Railway, as already 

The various long-term loans, arranged for the British 
French Governments by the Morgan firm and by 
the country-wide banking groups^ which largely be- 
cause of the stimulating effect upon America's export 
trade desired a share In these operations, have already 
been described. But, as has also been pointed out, the 
credit needs of the Allies were continuous^ whereas the 
state of the American investment markets did not al- 
ways lend Itself to a bond operation at the moment 
when the commodity purchases of the Allies were at 
their heaviest In order, therefore, to cover these in- 
terim requirements, the Morgan firm arranged, with 
the cooperation of a few of the larger banking Insti- 
tutions, a loan to the British Government^ payable on 
demand, the amount of the loan rising and falling In 
accordance with the current British needs. This loan 
was invariably well secured. During the early days the 
security consisted of gold In transit or held In trust. 
Later the loan was secured by the deposit of high-grade 


and stocks, with ample margin. It 
of a choice character. 

At Its this loan was at the figure of 

a large total, to be sure, 

but by readily marketable American securities 

of an value exceeding $yccjOOO ! ooo. And 

the varying amounts of this demand loan were so 

up the several American banking In- 

participating in It, as to constitute for them a 

acceptable obligation. 

At the beginning of the relationships between the 
Treasury and the Morgan firm, it had not been 
contemplated on either side that services of the char- 
acter or extent described would be needed. But as 
British purchases in the American commodity markets 
almost immediately took a great jump In volume, it was 
found that the demand loan arrangement performed 
a most useful purpose. Throughout the most critical 
periods of the War it served as a buffer, absorbing 
momentarily the insistent demands upon British cash 
balances built up for the payment of British purchases. 
Then, as from time to time the American investment 
markets came forward to absorb such issues of bonds 
or notes as the Allied Governments might be offering, 
the demand loan would be correspondingly liquidated ; 
thereafter gradually increasing again as current require- 
ments made necessary. 

It will be recalled that the British Treasury was at 
times caring, in part at least, for the American cash 
requirements of certain of its Allies, notably in connec- 
tion with the Russian Government's arms contracts 
here; and no doubt the volume of the demand loan 
was, at times, made greater by reason of these Inter- 
Allied financial arrangements. 

There was never any basis for the charge, which was 

BY 215 


a the 

the it to 

It America's the War, In 

1917. While it Is to 

were ever to off any one of 

the British Government, the an 

of funds, le of the of 

the loan, the 

resources of the British Government. These 
of the pledged securities which were 
liquidated, of gold shipped from 
other parts of the world, of the of British 

Treasury bills, and of balances resulting from the pur- 
of exchange for British Government account. 
Cash proceeds from all such sources were, as I say 
as the event proved, materially in excess of the amount 
of the demand loan, the soundness of which, meantime, 
could never have been Justly questioned. 

Possibly I should not go so fully into the description 
of the demand loan operation, and of its subsequent 
and ready liquidation by the British Government, were 
it not for the mistaken, although entirely well-meaning, 
allusion to it in the letters (published in 1922) of 
Walter Hines Page, the distinguished American Am- 
bassador to Great Britain during most of the War years. 
Taking his cue from an erroneous memorandum re- 
ceived by him from Lord Balfour, who was manifestly 
more versed in the terminology of philosophy than of 
finance, Mr. Page alluded to the demand loan as an 
"overdraft 51 that was finally liquidated "out of the pro- 
ceeds of the Liberty loans." But, as I have explained, 
there was nothing in the nature of an "overdraft" in 
this excellently secured demand loan. It carried with 
it ample self -liquidating collateral, and the British 


at the same time, had at Its command 
available means for final liquidation of this 

Throughout the whole period of these British credit 
in America, running from the great Anglo- 
French Loan of October, 1915, through the final post- 
War loan of November, 1919, Davison had been In the 
van, in planning and execution. And manifestly the 
continuance of such credit operations had been of great 
economic benefit to the American community, in en- 
abling It to build up an enormous volume of profitable 

The total of the public loan operations for Great 
Britain and France, from 1915 to the end of the recon- 
struction period In 1921, was approximately $2,000,- 
000,000. Of this amount there remain unpaid only 
about $136,000,000, in the form of British Government 
bonds maturing In 1937, and approximately $49,000,000 
of French Government 7^/2. per cent, sinking fund 
bonds maturing In 1941. In other words, over ninety 
per cent of the loans made by American Investors to 
these two governments has already been liquidated, 
through the regular mechanisms provided in the orig- 
inal loan agreements. Such a satisfactory outcome has 
probably been due in part to good-fortune, as well as 
to the care taken by the Issuing group of bankers to 
protect the interests of the American Investors in these 


of crtffr of to 

agriculture 'All of csmntry 

the Allies 3 The work of R. An 

effort in Preparedness 

T WAS Davison who first had the idea of trying to 
__ bring order out of chaos In the complex matter of 
the Allies' purchases in the American markets. War 
burst upon the world so suddenly that, as I have 
already pointed out, it became necessary for the British 
Government to rush into the American commodities 
markets even as early as the autumn of 1914, in order 
to supply the needs which England could not furnish 
at home. Only two or three months had passed before 
it became plain that Britain's helter-skelter and at times 
almost frantic buying was failing to serve her own pur- 
poses, and was developing uneven spots in the American 
markets not conducive to stable industry here, 

It was at this point, December, 1914, that Davison's 
idea of orderliness in purchasing, as contrasted with 
confusion, began to clarify itself in his mind and lead 
to active effort. As I have been reviewing those 
crowded years of his, I cannot but feel that no single 
one of his achievements had greater or more far-reach- 
ing benefits to his country than his work in helping to 
bring order to the principal financial and commercial 
activities of the Allies in the United States during the 
early years of the War. He was one of the very first 
to see the necessity of some such concentration, if Amer- 



and business generally were to be saved 
and if the Allies were to continue 
to the United States the food supplies and 

the indispensable to their cause. 

At the moment when the firm first undertook to deal 
the situation, the American markets, in respect to 
certain commodities and lines of manufacture, seemed 
on the verge of demoralization. Order was, however, 
as 1 have said, gradually brought out of threatened 
chaos, and the statement has frequently been made that, 
by the careful direction of much of the War purchases 
of the Allies in America, the firm helped to bring to the 
United States a widespread industrial activity and 

Further, the resulting mobilization of many sections 
of American industry doubtless helped to develop in 
the United States an industrial preparedness, without 
which the military effectiveness of America's later par- 
ticipation in the War would necessarily have been con- 
siderably delayed. If Edward R. Stettinius who, under 
Davison's early Initiative, directed these efforts were 
still alive, he could readily give chapter and verse as 
to the constructive character of these developments. 

Early In the autumn of 1914 Davlson had raised with 
J. P. Morgan and his other partners the question 
whether the firm should not endeavor to adopt some 
means that would serve alike the Interests of our own 
country and of the Allies as well. What such an effort 
might involve Davison had not the slightest idea. He 
merely felt that he, or some one else, should go to 
Europe to study the situation. So, as already related, 
Mr. Morgan asked Davison to go. Thus on November 
26, 1914, he set sail for Europe. 

One incidental purpose of Davison's trip was the 
continuation of discussions that had been carried on 


Xew York and Mr. 

Sir; of the Treasury, and Sir 

Paish, of in the 

the of 

on the as 

the as to a 

for the of 

a of New York 

Other problems of 

to continued trade be- 

America Britain were Al- 

though nothing In any way definite developed, 

Mr. Blackett gave the impression that he would like 
to see some house, like J. P. Morgan & Co., the 

British Government in solving its problem of pur- 
chases in the United States. Davison made no secret 
of his belief that, if properly handled, the Allied pur- 
chasing programme could be made highly stimulating 
to American business. 

Not long after his arrival in London, Davison was 
invited to discuss with the leading officials of the Brit- 
ish Government the whole question of their supply 
purchases in America. It had become evident to most 
of them that, unless the War had a speedy ending, it 
was inevitable that Britain and France would wish to 
purchase in the American markets the greater portion 
of their mounting requirements for wheat, oats, cottony 
leather, meats, copper and other metals. 

Davison made it clear at the outset of the talks that 
the interests of his own country must always be recog- 
nized as paramount, but that he believed that such 
interests could be well served, with distinctly accruing 
and increasing advantage to the British Government, 
through a more orderly handling of the system of Amer- 
ican purchases. One of these discussions took place at 


the Naval and Military Club, where Davison had 

to a general conversation with the Prime 

Mr. Asquith, Mr. Lloyd George, Mr. Mon- 

aad two or three others. He recalled the occasion 

very vividly. It was the day the German cruisers, 

Scarborough and Whitby, had ventured 

their haven. The Prime Minister was nervous 

and at the same time manifestly elated. In fact, he said 

frankly to Davison : 

"Something very important is about to happen. 
Something," he added, "which may terminate the War. 
Indeed, the War is probably being won at this mo- 

Then Mr, Asquith explained that word had just been 
received to the effect that the German fleet was leaving 
its shelter^ and plans had been made to envelop it com- 
pletely and overcome it Those present seemed to share 
the Premier's confidence, and there was even some dis- 
cussion as to what terms might be presented to 

It was then arranged that Davison should talk with 
Lord Kitchener, the Secretary of State for War. Davi- 
son had met Lord Kitchener when the latter was British 
Agent and Consul General in Egypt. In fact, he had 
received some help from him in preparing for his 
African hunting trip two years before. Therefore, he 
was no stranger to the war lord, who greeted him 

At that early stage of the conflict, even Lord 
Kitchener was far from a realization of the enormous 
amount of supplies which Britain would later be buy- 
ing on the American markets. Answering Davison's 
query on this point, he expressed the opinion that they 
might aggregate as much as fifty million dollars. And 
one of his subordinates, the official in charge of pur- 


at the War to the 

War had or for, all 

its In the United of the cad 

of the War! It is a of the 

by the Treasury in of 


exceeded Kitchener's by bil- 

lions of dollars. 

Understanding having as to the 

which Britain's purchases In America 
be coordinated, Davison called upon the Prime Min- 
ister, received Mr, Asquith's hearty for his 
interest Mr. Lloyd George voiced his hearty 
appreciation of Davlson 1 s activities. It so 

the King's Secretary, Lord Stamfordham 5 was 
waiting to see the Chancellor. Mr. Lloyd George^ In- 
troducing him to Davison^ explained that the latter 
the American banker who had been helpful to the 
Allies. Davlson's remark, that there were many more 
in the United States who would have been glad to do 
the same thing, interested Lord Stamfordham, who 
asked permission to repeat the statement to the King. 

Lord Kitchener, when he said good-bye, was In high 
spirits^ asserting that he had great faith In the United 
States and that the Americans were "all right." Admit- 
ting that the War might be a long one ? he had absolutely 
no doubt as to the final outcome. "Well win/ 5 said 
he, telling Davison he might give that message to his 
friends in New York. 

While Davison at this time made no arrangements 
with the French as to their American purchases, a plan 
covering roughly the same ground was eventually car- 
ried out. 

After the so-called Export Department of J. P. Mor- 
gan & Co. had been organized to handle the details 


of this task, Davison maintained, as did the 

a close contact with its operations, as 

directed by Edward R. Stettinius, no less a 

in his line than Davison was in his particular 

province. Again and again, Davison was called upon 

to his counsel, his personality, and his influence 

particularly formidable obstacle threatened 

to curtail the purchasing programme of the Allies In 


In June, 1915, when Davison was again In London, 
he had a conversation with Mr. Lloyd George, then 
Minister of Munitions, in regard to the manner In 
which the purchasing was being carried out. 

"You people," remarked the Minister, "have got to 
pay some attention to politics In your country. I hear 
reports that the British Government is buying every- 
thing from Republicans. You must divide the busi- 
ness so that the Democrats get some of it." 

Very carefully, Davison explained to the Minister 
that the firm's export department did not know a Dem- 
ocrat from a Republican. The executive head of It did 
recognize the desirability of making a geographical 
distribution, so as to stimulate industry as widely as 
possible throughout the country, and to avoid trans- 
portation and labor difficulties. If, for example, it 
were possible (other things being about equal) to give 
an order to a plant in New Haven (where already 
much business had been allocated) or to one in Hous- 
ton, Texas, the order would go to Texas. But as for 
making political distinctions, the Agents would have 
to be excused. 

In the summer of 1915, Davison encountered D. A. 
Thomas, later Lord Rhondda, who was then about to 
sail for the United States as a representative of Mr. 
Lloyd George, Minister of Munitions. Davison was 


Mr. had 

all of 

to in to the the 

Government's not 

to various to he 

to the United to the 

ter, thoroughly Investigate 
he receive. Davison the 

he went "to the mat," the greater the service he 
render to his principals and also to J. P. Morgan & Co. 

Upon his return to the United States, Davison in- 
vited Mr. Thomas to come down town and in 
the final discussions as to some highly important Rus- 

artillery ammunition purchases^ sponsored 
guaranteed by the British. 

It was explained to Mr. Thomas that there were rep- 
resentatives of seven different American companies in 
different rooms of the building, and that they would be 
interviewed in succession. After Mr. Thomas had 
been kept "on the job" all day, he showed a desire about 
dinner-time to get away. To this Davison demurred. 
He pointed out that it was "the firm's party" and that, 
as Mr. Thomas had been invited, it would not do for 
him to leave before the party was over. Thus ? Mr. 
Thomas was detained until the wind-up of discussions 
late in the evening. When he finally left the Morgan 
offices he was greatly impressed, as Davison had frankly 
desired he should be, by the unusual size of the trans- 
action and the very considerable economies made for 
the British Government Mr. Thomas declared him- 
self enthusiastic over the day's labor. 

Other anecdotes were related by Davison about Mr. 
Thomas. When he first arrived, he asked to be sup- 
plied regularly with copies of current correspondence 


British purchases. The arrangement 

started before one day his secretary In 

called on the telephone from the Plaza 

where Mr. Thomas was staying. A sudden gust 

of had blown one particularly important memo- 

raadum, up to the hotel, out of the window, and it 

had disappeared completely* 

To the British officials it seemed vital that the memo- 
randum l written on three sheets of onion-skin paper 
pinned together, should not get into German hands. 
So concerned were the two men that (as they ex- 
plained) Mr. Thomas had cabled to Mr. Lloyd George, 
and General Mahon to Kitchener, reporting the loss. 
The gusty, summer wind had carried the sheets down 
over the Plaza fountain, and then lifted them over the 
roof of the Savoy Hotel. A subordinate British official 
had reached the roof of the Plaza, in time to see the 
flying paper disappear between the tanks on the roof 
of Bloomingdale Bros.' store, on Third Avenue. 

One of the firm's staff promptly gathered a group of 
searchers, and for hours they "combed" the whole 
neighborhood. In the late afternoon came a heavy rain, 
and that was the end of the three sheets of onion-skin 
paper* They were, of course, never found. To re- 
assure Mr. Thomas, members of his staff took three 
sheets of onion-skin paper similarly put together, and 
trailed them through the water in his bath tub. Their 
speedy disintegration made Mr. Thomas feel better. 
The whole incident sounded as if it might have been 
taken from an Oppenheim novel. 

After Mr. Thomas had been in the United States a 
few weeks, he came down town and with considerable 
heat announced that he was "through investigating." 
He said that he had had enough of such work, and he 
declared that the services of the firm were of such a 


as to any real of its 

He of at 

his to of 

or grievance. After he 

the for 

One has in 

proffered by the the 

work of the firm's 

But 1 have let of them are 

all quoted directly from Davison It 

was a real satisfaction to and his to 

the British and French authorities 

and so express themselves that the firm, all Its 

natural desire to favor American trade, 
a Just and effective stewardship to the Allies in the mat- 
ter of purchases. 

Upon the entrance of the United States Into the 
War, In April, 1917, and the creation of Federal buy- 
Ing agencies^ the firm withdrew from the purchasing 
field. In fact, J. P. Morgan & Co. insisted that the 
relationship should be entirely changed and that the 
British should effect new arrangements In cooperation 
with, and satisfactory to, the American Government 
Thus the actual purchasing was passed over to strictly 
British and French organlzatlonSj In the Initial devel- 
opment of which the firm was able, through Its long 
experience, to render considerable service. 

During this two-year period, roughly from the 
spring of 1915 to the spring of 1917, almost every de- 
partment of American industry and commerce was 
stimulated by the business proffered by the Allied Gov- 
ernments. The supplies which were bought had to do 
directly or Indirectly with the waging of the War, but 
they covered the widest possible range all the way 
from hobnails to locomotives, and included such di- 


as clinical thermometers, steel box 

chlorine, cretonne, corned beef, barbed 

wire, and Of raw materials required to maun- 

ammunition, shell steel, cotton linters, copper, 

and aluminum were bought in large quantities. 

In connection with the purchases, one heard occa- 
suggestions to the effect that, with its many re- 
ported industrial connections, the Morgan firm in all 
probability was considerably interested in the com- 
panies which were contracting to furnish supplies to 
the Allied Governments. On the contrary, the firm's 
total interests of this nature were almost nothing. As 
a matter of sound practice, the firm from the start 
adopted the plan of informing the two Governments as 
to what interest ? if any, the firm or any of its partners 
had in any concern receiving a contract. The final 
record as to the British contracts showed that, of the 
hundreds of different concerns dealt w r ith, there were 
only eleven in which the Morgan partners held any in- 
terest ; and the largest interest they held in any one of 
those eleven did not exceed three per cent of the shares. 
In the case of the French, the percentage was even 
more trifling. 

In recalling the general scope of the Allies' pur- 
chases in the United States, one comes to realize afresh 
the reason why, during the span of years mentioned, 
American industry received such an extraordinary 
stimulus. In fact, one begins to understand the almost 
complete reorganization of industry here, which this 
huge, insistent and continuous demand from the Allied 
Governments served so largely to bring about. What- 
ever the extent of the slump which American business 
has suffered in recent years, no one can question the fact 
that our great material prosperity in the post- War years 
was in appreciable measure founded upon that solid 


of the War 

of the Allies, and by 


Certainly Davlson's of the 

of the War 
His as he to 

service to its own to 

the Allies. The expressions of 

of both Governments the water from 

his own countrymen were hearty and sincere. His 
imagination and his courage had never failed. 

This chapter, describing the purchasing of American 
supplies for the Allies, would be wholly Incomplete 
without a further word upon the work of Edward R. 
Stettinius, the skilful and devoted head of this activity. 
Throughout all his complex and varied work, Davison 
was the partner that kept closest In touch with Stettinius, 
and the two men came to have the greatest admiration 
and affection for each other. Their methods of work 
were vastly different, but they both had the same ends 
In view and pursued those ends with similar methods 
of directness and courage. 

It was In the late autumn of 1914? that Davison de- 
parted for London, in order to explain to the British 
authorities his idea of coordinating their American 
purchases. For systematizing such a complex task, our 
thoughts at once turned to Edward Stettinius whom we 
had known for some years In a personal way, and whose 
broad business experience, as merchant, manufacturer 
and negotiator, covered the ground that we were en- 
visaging. When I explained the situation to him I 
found him greatly In sympathy with the Idea and eager 
to cooperate. 

From the beginning of 19 1/ until some months after 
America entered the War (when he accepted appoint- 


in the War Department^ first as Surveyor General 
of Supplies and then as Second Assistant Secretary of 
War), Stettinius gave himself over more completely 
and devotedly to the work than any of us who had seen 
hard workers before could have Imagined. I shall not 
attempt to enumerate or evaluate Edward Stettinius 1 
activities. But the wide range of them never failed to 
astonish us all ; his uncanny foresight was marvellous. 
StettmiuSy as I have indicated, knew manufacturing 
from the ground up, and in merchandising he was a 
past master. He knew where to go to secure the best 
and most economical practice. And when proper facili- 
ties were lacking, he knew how to go about the develop- 
ment of them. 

Thus It came about that, when the demands from 
the British and French Governments became so all- 
embracing and so insistent as to exhaust the facilities 
of existing manufacturing organizations in America, 
in the line of military supplies, Stettinius set about 
developing new sources. 

The consequence was that before a year was over, 
Stettinius had immeasurably broadened the field of 
production for Allied needs, and had brought into 
active functioning many of the best known manufac- 
turing plants of the country. 

And the American public generally had reason to be 
grateful to Stettinius for the foresight which had 
created new manufacturing facilities on a large scale. 
The point was that, even though the United States, 
when it entered the conflict in April, 1917, was 
largely unprepared, yet in that one particular, of hav- 
ing ready-made organizations for the furnishing of 
military supplies, the country found itself well 
equipped. Somewhere, somehow, sometime there 
should be set down the record showing how this twenty- 


hour-a-day worker, this great specialist in American 
production, helped to "prepare" this country for such 
mechanical effort and effectiveness as it was later able 
to show; without which all the cohorts of the Ameri- 
can Expeditionary Force would have been compara- 
tively helpless on the battlefields of France. 

It was almost a romantic story , that of the Allied 
purchases in America: how from small beginnings 
they grew in an orderly way to the great totals that 
manifestly spelled such high degree of prosperity for 
American agriculture and industry, and that brought 
increased wages to the workingman ; how the favorable 
effect of these purchases of all sorts of farm products 
and of manufactures spread and reached even the re- 
mote corners of the country. It is all a story that 
Stettinius could have told from start to finish in a 
way to thrill any American interested in the economic 
and material development of his country in those early 
War years. But Edward Stettinius* voice is stilled 

One morning late in December, 1915, Davison and 
I were on our way to call on Mr. Morgan at his town 
house. Prior to this time neither of us had discussed 
at length with each other the relations of Stettinius to 
the Morgan firm. But on that morning Davison said to 
me suddenly: "Are you ready to join with me in 
recommending Ed for membership in the firm? 55 "I 
am," I responded. But when we took the matter up 
with Mr. Morgan, we found that he already had the 
same plan in mind. 

Thus it was that Stettinius came to enter the Mor- 
gan firm of which he was a valued member up to the 
time of his death, in 1925. And if ever a man laid 
down his life for a cause, it was Edward Stettinius. 
Never sparing himself either mentally or physically, he 


under superhuman burdens during all the five 
years from 1915 to 1920. His health could not endure 
the strain. Because of the extraordinary intimacy of 
the two men during all those years, and because of 
the love which they bore for each other, it seems not 
inappropriate that these few paragraphs about Edward 
Stettinius should find a place in a volume covering 
Harry Davison's life. 


Happy days in the Jersey countryside thirty years aff@ Simple tastes 
of the ffroups which Davison drew around Mm The centre and 
leader of them all Open, house on the Lonff Island shore Original 
training! place of the Yale Aviation Unit Visits to Ms native Troy 
Civic gifts to his home town Political affiliations 

IN THE life of almost every man, as active and success- 
ful in large affairs as Harry Davlson was, there usu- 
ally comes something In the nature of a climax. He 
stands upon the summit of the mountain up which he 
has climbed, and, "like stout Cortez * * * silent, upon 
a peak in Darien/ 1 he perhaps gazes back, and then 
forward again over what may seem like the broad 
Pacific, stretching away inimitably In the westering 
sun. Thus the height of the Red Cross achievement 
was Davison's peak In Darlen. 

But before setting forth that last, most stirring chap- 
ter of an intensely active life In which there was a 
fresh phase, a new development, almost every day, It 
may be of advantage, In rounding out a picture of the 
man, to describe his days in some of their more per- 
sonal aspects : his unusually happy home life, and the 
varied community interests that for years clustered 
about it; his circle of friends; his relaxations and his 

One cannot, to be sure, in the annals of a New Jersey 
suburb, maintain the War-time tempo and the sweep 
of great financial operations. Nevertheless, even at the 
risk of slowing down the pace of the story, I shall 



In this chapter and the one which follows It, 
to of the scenes which are perhaps far less 

IE themselves, but which served so largely to 
give Davlson the background and the point of depar- 

he needed as a base in carrying on his work 
in world affairs. 

During the early days of his progress in banking, 
Davison f s home was in Englewood, New Jersey, where 
he lived from 1896 until 1909. That was a little over 
a decade: the period in which Davlson consolidated 
his life, so to speak. When he moved to New Jersey 
with his little family at that time his wife and one son, 
Trubee he had already started well on his banking 
career. But as yet his circle of friends and followers 
was limited. He was unknown in the banking or busi- 
ness community at large. His mind was always moving 
forward ; but it had not yet occupied itself with con- 
structive measures. He had already seen defects in 
the local banking system of New York and of the 
country; but he had not as yet become a student of 
banking. He knew the practice better than he did the 
principle. So he had no remedies to suggest. His 
knowledge of people had been gained in minor affairs. 
He had had little acquaintance with men of large per- 
sonality and importance. He did not know what to 
expect from his fellows in times of great stress and 

But those years, during which Davlson's domestic 
and personal life was to be lived in Englewood, were to 
change all this. For in the course of that period, he 
was to taste all those broadening experiences which I 
have suggested. He was to see the financial centre of 
the country In its days of great prosperity, of huge 
Industrial combinations, and he was to see it in the 
throes of a money panic which shook the whole coun- 


try as well. He, all his 

to wonder, and to for the eco- 

nomic or human which for the 

succeeding cycles of prosperity and adversity, that 
so signally punctuated the progress of America, 
that had also been a part of the economic development 
of European nations. Would study and scientific analy- 
sis never succeed in furnishing a solid clue to the dis- 
covery and elimination of those Ills that seemed Inevi- 
tably to follow upon abounding prosperity? Or were 
they never to be found, and must we be content simply 
to accept them as forces majeures^ "acts of God" that 
we must bow down piously before merely doing every- 
thing we could when disaster arrived to mitigate the 
evils of unemployment and wretchedness that followed? 

Those were the questions that Davlson and his inti- 
mate circle of friends, both banking and personal, used 
to discuss; telling each other then, as we tell each other 
today, that while Americans are popularly supposed to 
be a hard-headed lot. In reality they are emotional, 
easily led Into speculation and extravagance, and always 
seemingly determined to pursue their careers through 
succeeding cycles of exaltation and discouragement. In 
these respects we and our countrymen may be little 
different from other peoples. Yet In America, cer- 
tainly, our extremes are more pronounced. We can 
never do anything by halves. When things are looking 
up we are not satisfied with a normal prosperity. We 
want to have it on a constantly ascending scale. When 
the picture changes we never escape with a mild de- 
pression ! 

Because, In these Englewood years, Davison's mind 
and experiences and capacities were rapidly expanding, 
this period proved, perhaps, the most important of his 
whole life. He was almost daily forming closer con- 


men of large affairs. He was studying them 
and methods, admirable or otherwise, as the case 

be. Although Davison had never been a close 
of history regretting, as he frequently did, his 
of a college education nevertheless he sensed the 
fact that it was only through a study of the accumu- 
lated past that the world could even begin to gain an 
understanding of itself or attempt to guide its future. 
And as with the world at large, so it was with Davison 
and his friends. Constant inquiry and study of condi- 
tion^ past and present, were the only sound foundation 
upon which judgment for future action could intelli- 
gently be based. 

It is by no means necessary to an understanding of 
Davison^s happy relations, that I should make a cata- 
logue of those close friends who made up such a great 
and really important part of his life outside his work- 
ing hours which, by the way, were by no means brief. 
No one, I think, whom it has been my fortune to know, 
gained such a devoted circle of friends, men and 
women, as did Harry Davison. In that circle he was 
not simply a leader. He was a king, an idol, if you 
please. They never pretended that he was wholly free 
from the human frailties that plagued the rest of us. 
But they considered him as, perhaps, approaching per- 
fection more nearly than did anyone else in the human 
family that they had ever met. His joyous boyishness, 
his inimitable humor, his generosity, his loyalty, his 
devotion: all these were qualities that bound them to 
his side. They adored him. 

There is a line from John Masefield's poem, "King 
Cole," which comes to mind: "His friends, who make 
salt sweet and blackness bright. 5 ' Harry's friends, his 
friendships they were as the breath of life to him. 
He himself had the salt and the blackness of life far 

AND 235 

less men. Yet he one to so 

f riends ? of his of his 

solace, fresh life. 

Among those unusual attributes which so 

been credited to Davison, was of very 

quickly in the men whom he met the qualities that 
would serve to make them useful in some larger field 
of daily work than that in which they were already 
occupied. Thus it was that gradually Davison 
to draw into his banking orbit various Englewooders 
whom he met socially, or at sport, or even only on the 
morning and evening suburban trains, which he daily 
took to and from his office in New York. The number 
of such satellites, so to call them without in any way 
depreciating their own independence of thought and 
action, grew so steadily that finally, in the banking 
circles of New York, it became one of the standing 
pleasantries of the season to remark that, if one wanted 
to get a job In a bank, he must start by making his home 
in Englewood. The 8.22 A.M. train was the one which 
usually brought Davison and his group to town, and 
his strictly city friends, Wiggin, Porter, McGarrah and 
the otherSj used to inquire frequently whether any fresh 
banking neophytes had been added to the "Englewood 
Special" that morning. 

One has only to name some of these men who started 
their work at banking, either under Davison's own 
direction or at his suggestion, to realize to what an 
extent he developed latent capacity in the field of bank- 
ing. Some of the list, in the order in which they came 
under the spell of Davison's almost magic wand, were : 
Daniel Pomeroy, myself, Benjamin Strong, Seward 
Prosser, Thomas Cochran, Then there was Frederick 
B. Schenck whom Davison did not discover as a banker, 
but whom he found in Englewood and made president 


of the Liberty National Bank. Another, and very 
extraordinary, product of Englewood though he was 
not of Davison's banking circle until some years after 
Davlson moved his home from Englewood was 
Dwight Morrow. Even as we are in the midst of work 
on this volume, an end comes to the earthly life of 
Dwight Morrow a life crowded full with wonder, 
with genius, with achievement 

Life in Englewood thirty years ago was just about 
what it was in most suburban towns around New York 
simple and healthful. Motors had not yet become 
commonplace, people kept riding-horses, and life was 
almost as much rural as it was suburban. Most persons 
including the Davison family went to church fairly 
regularly. In place of the cocktails and the whisky or 
champagne of the present "prohibition" era, Engle- 
wood's modest dinner parties of twenty-five years ago 
were regaled with an inexpensive bottle of red or white 

There was considerable out-door life in winter, 
coasting, skating and skiing of sorts, and in the tem- 
perate seasons, some horseback riding, plenty of golf 
and tennis. And always there was the long tramp up 
the hill to the top of the Palisades, on a clear day giving 
the wide view south to almost the lower tip of Man- 
hattan, and north across the Tappan Zee to the far blue 
wall of the Highlands. The favorite spot was Clinton 
Point, a great, sunny space of granite, jutting out from 
the red wall of the Palisades themselves. Harry Davi- 
son and his friends never did any boating on the Hud- 
son River. The journey to the foot of the Palisades was 
not easy in the first place, and then the river at that 
point, with those beetling cliffs over-ruling, was not a 
very safe boating stream, subject as it was to sudden 
and frequent squalls. In summer the bulk of the 


Englewood colony drifted for a of 

or more, to the or or, for 

the grand tour of Europe. But even the of 
lands those were the when a trip 

was still something of a family event not very 
strong, partly because the children were young. 
Three of the four Davison children were In 

Englewood era. 

One may well recall here that delightful knack which 
Harry had of being able to pick up almost any musical 
instrument and, with no previous training at all, draw 
from It a sustained melody. We all remember that he 
always had a keen ear for music and a sympathetic in- 
terest In it. Many In his family used to feel that there 
had been born In him a love of music, which only en- 
vironment and the pressure of Intense and distracting 
affairs prevented from blossoming Into real accom- 

There are many friends, beside myself, who can to 
this day recall the picture of Harry, at the end of some 
evening when a small orchestra had been playing for 
the pleasure of dinner guests, walking calmly over to 
one of the musicians, taking his Instrument from him 
with hardly a by-your-leave, and proceeding to tune In. 
It didn't seem to make much difference to Harry what 
particular instrument he chose. Whether it were a 
violin or a 'cello, flute or a French horn, he would 
always be able, after a little experimenting, to draw 
from It the melody that he was searching for. This 
particular undertaking on Harry's part was generally 
looked upon by his friends as something in the nature 
of a pleasantry. Yet, at the same time, they were In- 
clined to regard these expressions of his interest in 
music as only another overflowing of that harmonious 
nature which found outlet in so many happy directions. 


Undoubtedly, his mother was the one to leave IE his 
consciousness an Ineffaceable trace of melody, 
and longed for ; that mother, whose mem- 
ory all the children were so proud of; that lovely- 
mother with auburn hair, who played and sang, 
wore beautiful clothes! It must have been she 
who bequeathed some measure of talent to each of her 
children, for both the daughters achieved not a little 
success in the art of music. 

Davison's part in Englewood's civic life centred in 
the Englewood Hospital to which reference has been 
made in an earlier chapter. In fact, his administration 
of it for several years, as president, constituted his first 
service of a public character. Of this enterprise I quote 
from a letter received some years ago from Benjamin 
Strong who was Davison's right hand In this work: 

It was probably about 1901, that Harry and I were 
both asked to become trustees and members of the 
executive committee of the Englewood Hospital. 
This was our first association together. It was char- 
acteristic of Harry that he was unwilling to assume 
any responsibility for the management of the hos- 
pital, unless he was fully familiar with every detail 
of its affairs. He was president, I was treasurer, and 
we, with three others, were the executive committee. 
Almost every week he and I together visited the hos- 
pital. We went through the wards, talked with the 
patients, became acquainted with the staff and with 
the nurses; and In a very short time Harry's genius 
for developing the soundest qualities in any enter- 
prise In which he was interested became perfectly 
apparent. Discord in the visiting staff was elimi- 
nated; a new management was put in the hospital 
itself ; and within a year or two, by organized appeal 

AND 239 

to the citizens of and by enter- 

tainments, the of the put on 

a basis, necessary in the 

service were put under way, and a reor- 

ganization had been completed. of 

the changes were radical to have 

some feeling, there was not one person ia 

the work with Harry Davison who did not accept 
his Judgment without demur. And when he finally 
turned the hospital work over to others^ he left be- 
hind him none but friends. 

When Davison entered the Morgan firm on January 
i, 1909, he soon decided that he could not carry on all 
the activities that he felt were important, without hav- 
ing a home in New York City, Accordingly, he bought 
a house at 12 West jjist Street, where he made his city 
home until, in 19 17, he built the roomy dwelling at 690 
Park Avenue, which he occupied until his death. 

But it was his new home in the country, at Peacock 
Point on Long Island, that really claimed his chief at- 
tention and all his enthusiasm. This place was one of 
his, and Kate Davison's, fortunate discoveries. In years 
of searching they could not have found an estate more 
ideally situated for their purposes. At Locust Valley, 
on the North Shore of Long Island, it had an ample 
shore front and charming beaches directly on the 
Sound, with a delightful prospect over the water. By 
building a sturdy breakwater, Davison was able to pro- 
vide a small, but excellent, anchorage and landing 
place for the motor craft which he eventually used for 
commuting purposes to downtown New York. 

Thus Peacock Point became his permanent home, 
and held his devoted interest as long as he lived. In 
fact, in his will he made certain provisions under 


in the of his elder son, Trubee, It was to be 

retained permanently as a gathering place and home 
for the entire family. One of the last undertakings 
which claimed his attention during the closing months 
of his life was the building on the estate of houses for 
his son, Tnibee, and his elder daughter, Alice, and 
their families. 

It would be hard to describe the place which this 
home occupied in Harry Davlson's heart and in his 
whole scheme of life. He and Kate Davison thought 
alike and very generously in matters of hospitality, 
and, at Peacock Point especially, were always sur- 
rounded with groups of young people in whose ambi- 
tions and problems they took a keen interest. Although 
very rarely entertaining in the sense of giving set din- 
nerSj they rarely sat down to a meal with fewer than 
sixteen at table. Peacock Point, with its beaches, polo 
field and tennis courts, became a centre for the young 
people for miles around, and the children used to groan 
when they had to leave home : it was always so much 
more fun there than anywhere else. It was a complete 
patriarchal and matriarchal existence which Harry and 
Kate carried on here, on a scale and in a spirit that 
held the whole family together in remarkable unity and 

About three years after the family had taken pos- 
session of Peacock Point, the original house which had 
occupied the site burned down, late one afternoon. 
The news was telephoned in to Harry, who was at the 
city house recovering from an attack of quinsy. 

When Kate Davison, who had been out in the coun- 
try with Trubee, Harry, Jr., and some of their Groton 
School friends, arrived at the city house about ten 
o'clock that evening, Harry met the party at the door. 
He said nothing about the fire ; indeed, he showed no 

AND 241 

In the he he 

made for the He 

to secure a houseboat, the of it off 

the pier for the summer it as 

a temporary home. 

As a matter of fact, Harry for Europe 

two days to join Mr. Morgan there. But he 
a roomy boat, and had plans already made for renovat- 
ing and furnishing it. When he returned two months 
later, he found his summer home ready for him. It 
was securely moored to the end of the pier, equipped 
with electric lights, telephone and running water which 
was supplied from the system on Peacock Point The 
houseboat was a great success, and, as the War broke 
out in Europe soon after that time, the family used it as 
a summer home for three years, before the new house 
was built 

At Peacock Point the Yale Aviation Unit received 
its initial training, a development of more than ordi- 
nary importance. This unit had been organized and 
financed by Davison and his friend, Col. Lewis S. 
Thompson, during the year before America entered the 
Great War, the rumblings of which were coming closer 
month by month, 

It was in 1916 that Davison became responsible for 
the organization of the naval aviation group officially 
designated "Aerial Coast Patrol No. i," but more 
generally known as the First Yale Unit The idea had 
been developed originally by his son, Trubee, and some 
of his college friends. Trubee had accompanied his 
father to Europe in the summer of 1915, and had spent 
the summer in the ambulance service in Paris. His 
experience in France awakened a keen interest in avia- 
tion, and upon his return to college he proceeded to 
instil his enthusiasm about aviation into the minds of 

242 P. DAV1SON 

of his By the time the following sum- 

rolled around, the outlines had been formed 

of an enterprise which was destined to train selected 

to fly, in order that they might serve their 

country, if need arose, in the manner which appealed 

to most 

Returning in the early summer of 1916 from a short 
holiday, salmon-fishing in Canada, Davison was sud- 
denly confronted with a scheme which, in view of the 
little-developed state of aviation, naturally caused him 
some parental alarm. Well-prepared arguments, how- 
ever, served to convert him, and after the Navy officials 
in Washington had promised their endorsement and co- 
operation, Davison gave the enthusiastic young patri- 
ots every support He assembled the young men at 
Peacock Point, and there they received careful instruc- 
tion in aviation. Harry threw himself into this project 
with his usual whole-hearted enthusiasm. And Kate 
u went joint account" in the enterprise, feeding and 
entertaining there a dozen young men for the entire 
summer no mean task of organization for a private 
household ! 

A group of friends of Alice, the Davisons' elder 
daughter, helped so well with the "morale," that several 
weddings resulted when the War was over. Among 
them was that of Alice, herself, to Artemus L. Gates, 
a Yale classmate of Trubee's. This young man won 
distinguished decorations for gallantry in the War. 
After his plane had been grounded in Belgium and he, 
himself, had been captured by the Germans, he almost 
made his escape just prior to the Armistice. 

The whole flying unit had been headed by Trubee 
Davison who, as described, was responsible for the 
original idea and who, with vigorous initiative, made 
the plan possible. He, however, had the ill-fortune 


during his training to fall In his a 

become incapacitated for the work. But he 
his interest in the Unit never an 

opportunity to serve it 

What this whole movement accomplished for Amer- 
ican naval aviation has been recorded by Admiral Sims 
in his book, The Victory at Sea. U I can pay no finer 
tribute to American youth/* he wrote ? "than to say 
that the great aircraft force which was ultimately as- 
sembled In Europe had its beginnings in a small group 
of undergraduates at Yale University. * * * This group 
of college boys acted entirely on their own initiative. 
While the United States was still at peace, encouraged 
only by their parents and a few friends, they took up 
the study of aviation. It was their conviction that the 
United States would certainly get into the War, and 
they selected this branch as the one in which they could 
render greatest service to their country. 1 * 

From the earliest days of his departure from his boy- 
hood home Harry Davison was fond of returning 
to his beloved Troy. He never lost a chance to slip 
back there and pick up the threads of his old life with 
the friends of his family and childhood. And, natu- 
rally, to his relatives there and to the people in the 
town generally, his visits were always something of an 
event. It was not long after the War that Davison 
made one particular visit, for the purpose of presenting 
to the town one of three captured German guns which 
the French Government had given to him. 

After the brief ceremony was over, Harry was stroll- 
Ing about the little town and came to the conclusion 
that there were certain civic improvements which were 
sorely needed. There was an old livery stable in the 
centre of the place which was an eye-sore. His quick 
eye noted that, if this and several other old buildings 


or removed to some other site, ample 
for a park IE the centre of the town would 

be and the whole place could be cleared up 


That very day he arranged to have the necessary 
purchases made ? and appointed a committee to formu- 
late suggestions in regard to the development. Within a 
year or two, the centre of the town was transformed. 
Electric wires were put underground, old and unsightly 
buildings were torn down and others that could be uti- 
lized were renovated, lawns were planted, attractive 
trees were set out. Upon completion, the development 
was put under the supervision of the school board. The 
people of Troy became deeply interested, and their civic 
pride was aroused to further effort And when the new 
high school was completed, Harry refurbished and 
completely furnished one of the old dwellings as a house 
for the principal of the school, this additional donation 
enabling the school board to secure the services of a 
head master whom otherwise it might not have been 
able to attract. Meanwhile, too, some of the properties 
purchased by Harry Davison had been made available 
for renting. From these, the revenue has proved suf- 
ficient for the upkeep of the park and square, thereby 
entirely relieving the town of expense of maintenance. 

All this gift to the little town where he was born and 
reared was not made on the impulse of the moment 
even though, when the idea which had been fermenting 
In Harry's mind for a long time came to a head, he 
was, as always, swift in carrying it out. Ever and 
again, throughout his busy life his thoughts were hark- 
ing back to that village nestling in the hills. Even in 
moments of great stress and excitement and in die 
midst of large affairs, his associates would frequently 
overhear Harry dictating to his secretary some memo- 


or by so 

be for the of that Troy. 

It was natural he out 

development which to his 

in terms of beauty and delight his 

rapidly falling health, he was never to visit Troy 
again and see the completion of his project However, 
the reports as to its progress gave intense satisfac- 
tion and happiness. 

But I am doubtful whether any of his many other 
visits gave him quite as much satisfaction as did that 
top which he took, in order to pay back to his Uncle 
Merrick Pomeroy all the funds ungrudgingly advanced 
to him for his schooling and for various other purposes. 
The uncle had never dreamed of any repayment, and 
was unwilling to accept it until he realized Harris 
eagerness to make It This was very early in Harry ? s 
business career. At the time of his marriage, his salary 
was limited and his obligations were considerable. But 
after a few years he managed to begin to save, and 
accumulated enough to make this repayment. That 
done, he felt that his schooling at Greylock, about which 
the family at first had had their misgivings, had been 
justified, all the past had been cleared up, and he could 
start afresh on his way, with a clear and happy future 
ahead of him. 

In politics, throughout his life, Davlson was a Re- 
publican, and, though he had a most independent judg- 
ment, I do not recall his ever having bolted the 
Republican ticket He was eagerly Interested In all the 
questions of his day, and knew many of the leading 
figures in the field of politics. He was an Intimate 
friend of Senator Nelson Aldrich, and after his con- 
tacts with him on the Monetary Commission saw more 
or less of this Rhode Island Senator up to the time of 


Mr. Aldrich's death. He became well acquainted with 

of the legislators at Washington during the dis- 

in which he took part, leading up to the estab- 

of the Federal Reserve System. As for 

President Wilson, Davison had many interviews with 

him on Red Cross matters. He always seemed to me 

to have great respect for Mr. Wilson, but not very much 

of the personal affection which Mr. Wilson inspired in 

so many others who worked with, or near, him. 

When the War was ended and the Treaty of Ver- 
sailles was signed, and when Davison had completed 
his organization of the League of Red Cross Societies, 
the year 1919 was drawing to a close* Davison's name 
was on the lips of many of his fellow citizens all over 
the country, and it was often mentioned in connection 
with the Presidential nominations to be made in June, 
1920* But Davison never took such suggestions seri- 
ously. He realized perfectly well that he had no politi- 
cal following, and that it would be quite out of the way 
of practical politics for him to make one leap from a 
banking partnership in the Morgan house to high elec- 
tive office. He had no illusions on that score, and if ever 
there were any bees buzzing in his neighborhood, they 
never got entangled in his bonnet strings. Therefore 
he was complimented, perhaps, but he had no feeling 
more serious than that, when one of the New York 
State delegates, at the Republican Convention in Chi- 
cago in 1920, put his name in nomination for President 
Later, Davison accepted the presidency of the strongly 
Republican Union League Club of New York for one 
term, but he never took any active part in politics, in 
either New Jersey or New York. 



Early trips to the Elaine woods Stalking on the 

keiffkls of the Canadian Rockies Realization of a boyhood in 

the African Shooting Trip Davison's vivid of the days' hap- 

penings Adventures with elephant, * f rhino" buffalo Lord 

Kitchener of Khartum Sunny days at Magnolia Plantation 

IN THOSE earlier years at Englewood, Harry Davison 
seldom crossed the Atlantic which he was destined 
later, especially in the period of the Great War, to 
traverse so frequently. Nevertheless, it must not be 
inferred that he stayed at home and ignored holidays. 
On the contrary nobody in the world enjoyed a real 
holiday more than Harry Davison, nobody could relax 
better than he and put all care aside. With him, as 
with many men of engrossing affairs, his periods of re- 
laxation were important, not only to the preservation 
of his own health but to the continued, successful con- 
duct of his work. A man who, toiling under the pres- 
sure of modern American business, fails to take regular 
and adequate recreation, lacks proper balance, and loses 
in qualities of sustained and vigorous judgment and 

As a matter of fact, Davison's hunting and fishing 
trips formed his chief recreation in the way of holidays. 
Even as a young boy at Troy, he had been happy to 
roam the hills on holiday afternoons, with a little 
fowling-piece under his arm to shoot small game, and 
occasional partridges if he were lucky enough to flush 



Now then while at Greylock Institute, he 
out into the rocky Berkshires with 
Charley Sabin or Nat Bishop and try to find a little 
He always said he was not a first-class shot, but 
his and persistence, and his delight in shoot- 

ing, more than made up for everything else. Just as 
as he started to earn a fair living for himself , he 
began to take some real shooting and camping trips, and 
he kept them up until long after his last illness had 
fastened upon him. 

After he had moved to Englewood, Davison used 
occasionally to go with Robert C. Hill, an intimate 
Englewood friend with whom he took many trips, to 
shoot on the preserve of the Hartwood Club at Port 
Jervis ? New York. Then with Hill, and later with his 
wife, and with the Pomeroys, he made several trips 
to the Parmachenee Club in Eastern Maine, where the 
trout were plentiful, and where Davison and the other 
men of the party also stalked moose. In 1908, just 
after he had been invited to enter the Morgan firm on 
the first of the following January, Davison took his 
family and a party of friends to the King Ranch in 
Texas. They spent a fortnight in that wind-swept, 
prairie region which furnished the most plentiful and 
varied lot of game. Davison used to say, however, that 
he never really shot until he took his African trip. 

His two most ambitious trips were one which he 
made with Robert Hill, in 1915, to the Canadian 
Rockies for mountain sheep, and one the year previous 
which he took with John H. Prentice and Daniel Pom- 
eroy to Equatorial Africa. 

This is what Robert Hill has written in his breezy 
way about some of those shooting trips that Harry 
Davison so delighted in: 


From the I In 

Harry used to talk of the in Parma- 

cheeee In northeastern Maine, where he 
and fished with old Nat But it was not for 

us to visit together this spot, by 

his glowing accounts, until the fall of 1899, not 
after the birth of his daughter Alice. Everything 
was going so well with mother and child that Harry 
had no qualms until we got out of reach of telephone 
or telegraph. No sooner were we encamped at the 
Meadows, half way up the Margallaway River, than 
he began to wonder how Kate and the baby, not yet 
named, were getting along. His New England con- 
science began also to reproach him for having left 
home before the baby could talk! He kept most of 
these worries to himself, and not until we had started 
on our homeward journey did he tell me of the 
anxiety he had had during most of the trip. 

Davison had a wonderful faculty of dismissing 
cares and responsibilities as soon as he was out of gun- 
shot of them. He became a hilarious kid on a vacation. 
He got amusement from every individual peculiarity 
of the people he met; and every mishap, whether to 
him or to me, was of equal joy. Naturally he had 
the agreeable faculty of enjoying a joke on himself as 
well as on others. We hunted birds, we jacked for 
deer, we fished for trout, we talked and argued until 
we got out of breath, and slept like young animals. 

For years, Davison never ceased to discuss plans to 
West for Rocky Mountain sheep. I had been out, 
in 1912, to Fort Steele, British Columbia, and had 
shot sheep up the Kootenay River, in the Canadian 
Rockies. So with this experience, we made our plans 
well in advance, some time in July, 1915, that we 
would meet our guides and pack horses on top of a 


twenty miles from Lake Winderaiere, 
on the fifteenth of September at one o'clock. Con- 
firmation of these plans was received, and off we 
The new road between Windermere and Banff 
had been cut through, aad was perfectly passable for 
automobiles. So leaving the railroad, we embarked 
in an automobile in time to get us to the appointed 
place. We waited only fifteen or twenty minutes 
before our picturesque pack train showed up, and off 
we started* Camp was already made for us, and we 
arrived at it about dark. 

Like all his other friends, I always used to say that 
Harry had great luck. Certainly on this first day it 
was In evidence. The morning after making camp, 
we were told that the men had seen a goat on the 
opposite crag across the river. As this was Harry's 
first experience at Rocky Mountain goats, I was very 
anxious to have him get the animal. The trip was 
to be run entirely on the basis of the luck of the 
draw. The lot fell to Harry. So I started out on a 
trip of discovery to locate some sheep, getting back 
at night tired to death, not having seen any fresh 
tracks. Harry returned in time for lunch with a 
handsome mountain goat. 

The next day it fell to his lot to take a trip of two 
or three days, with a light shelter tent, up some of 
the mountain peaks. I was to amuse myself in an- 
other direction. Late in the afternoon of the second 
day I had just reached camp, when Harry came in 
with his clothes torn and bedraggled, with a three 
days' beard, his face drawn, his body so stiff and 
sore he could hardly move, but with the beatific grin 
of a successful hunter. He and his guide made camp 
the first night, having seen some black-tailed deer 
and signs of sheep. The first adventure early the 


the of the 

peaks f four or the 

location of the temporary 

the to their joy a 

bunch of eight or ten rams. They crawled up to 
within comparatively easy gunshot; Harry carefully 
sighted his rifle at the ram in the bunch and 

started a fusillade. His guide described it to me as 
the sound of artillery, Harry admitted two 

or three times until the rams began to run in circles. 
Finally one of them fell, and he brought back a per- 
fect specimen of a Rocky Mountain sheep. Only a 
few days afterwards, Harry almost walked on a big 
billy-goat which was lying in a little crevice sheltered 
from the wind, and I am under the impression that 
he had to step back to avoid blowing it to pieces. 

We always looked back on this trip as one of the 
outstanding incidents of our lives. It was the last 
fling of our youth. The trip was hard in the extreme, 
not only because of the altitude, but of the extremely 
rough going. Harry had marvellous endurance, 
when you think of the comparatively easy physical 
life that he led at home. 

In ending this brief recital of some of our shooting 
trips together, I must be allowed to add that Harry 
Davison was a wonderful host, a splendid playmate 
and the most companionable soul that ever lived ; a 
good sportsman, taking the bitter with the sweet, ac- 
cepting things as they came without complaint and 
with a marvellous sense of humor. 

Davison's African shooting trip for big game, made 
in the winter and spring of 1914, was full of color, and 
he enjoyed the memories of it all the rest of his life. 


It was on January 10 that Harry and Kate Davison, 
Daniel Pomeroy and his wife and John H. Prentice 
from New York on the "Adriatic," bound for 
Mediterranean ports. Touching last at^Naples, they 
to Alexandria, and it was late In the month 
they reached Cairo, which was to be the jumplng- 
off place for the whole party. From London they had 
obtained Information from the British sporting author- 
ities as to the best method for hunting big game on the 
Upper Nile in Equatorial Africa. From London also, 
Davison, Pomeroy and Prentice had outfitted them- 
selves with the heavy express rifles and other shooting 
gear required for big and small game. 

At Cairo they made their final preparations for the 
long journey up the Nile. Meanwhile, those who had 
time to spare did some of the usual sightseeing in the 
bazaars and other parts of the city, and in the environs 
of Cairo. But this was not a sightseeing trip : Davison 
was anxious to get on. He felt that he could make the 
ordinary Egyptian trip any year, but here was some- 
thing new and adventurous that he had been dreaming 
about since, as a boy, he had read those thrilling tales 
of big game and African savages, with which W. H. G. 
Kingston and Paul du Chaillu used to delight the youth 
of half a century ago. He could see in his mind that 
long line of monster elephants plodding along the upper 
reaches of the Blue Nile, and already in his dreams he 
was, like a boy, awakened In the morning with the 
snorting of the giant hippopotami. 

From Cairo, on February 5, the party proceeded 
by rail to Assiut where the private steamer, "Hyksos," 
arranged for months before, was ready to set out upon 
her long journey, stemming the swift, yellow current of 
the Nile, shifting from side to side of the river, as the 
skilled native pilot searched out the erratic channels by 


"feel" surface markings. There arc 
nor buoys, and the are yet 

men, who and love the river, say 

they can steer even better by by day. 

Each day the sun painted the ever 

color. At the end of the day it dropped down 
the western edge of the world In a glory of purple and 
gold, above the sapphire river, edged with dark palms, 
and gave place swiftly to blue-black velvet night stud- 
ded with Its glitter of Innumerable stars. Then they 
tied up at the bank, and slept to the ripple of the river 
and the faint distant bark of village dogs, or the mur- 
mur of strange talk on passing dahabeahs. In the morn- 
Ing they woke after a sudden silver dawn to find again a 
cloudless day of azure sky. On and on, day after day, 
past the famous tombs and temples, to the great dam 
at Assuan, where man 3 having harnessed the vast river, 
holds back and releases at his will the flood that for 
ages has been both the life and the terror of Egypt. 

This was a part of the trip that Kate Davlson and 
Frances Pomeroy enjoyed perhaps even more than their 
husbands, who were keen to get busy with those herds 
of game, all waiting for them at the end of the long 
river trail. 

From Wadi Haifa they all journeyed by train, ar- 
riving next day (February 20) at Khartum, 1400 
miles from Alexandria. Here the women of the party 
turned back and left their sporting husbands to go on 
up Into the game country, while they stayed on the 
dahabeah and, with the fast current of the Nile now 
with them, returned to civilization. Everything, of 
course, was to have been in readiness for the sporting 
contingent to start right on up the river. But there came 
the inevitable delays. With reference to these, Jack 


Prentice death occurred a few years after Davi- 

son's) the following characteristic incident: 

4i We had a hard time getting our provisions, shikaris, 
donkeys l etc. aboard the boat which we had chartered 
at Khartum. There were delays In everything. But 
one morning Harry left the hotel right after breakf ast, 
and about six o*clock In the evening he returned. Dan 
Poineroy and I asked him If he had had tea. He re- 
plied: l No tea nor lunch either, but everything is on 
board, and we start south at daylight' He had become 
tired of the slow way things were being done, typical of 
the East, had rounded everyone and everything up in a 
single day, and had saved us a possible week's delay. 
He was a dynamo when things had to be done. 77 

It was early In the morning of February 23, 1914, on 
board the "Atbara," that the party left Khartum. And 
four days later Davlson and his companions arrived at 
Kodok, formerly known as Fashoda. 

And one can Imagine them after their simple dinner, 
sitting out on the deck of the flat rivercraft, smoking 
their pipes under the glittering stars of the near- 
Equator, and talking of those days of a quarter-century 
or more before, when Fashoda was the centre of the 
fanatic tribesmen who were waging war on the enemies 
of Moslem; when brave General Gordon was making 
his last stand at Khartum, a few short miles to the 
north; when his fate was hanging by a thread; and 
when suddenly, with a groan going up from the Chris- 
tian world, that thread snapped. Now, under the glow- 
ing heavens of the equatorial night, all was calm and 
peaceful; the tribesmen had laid down their arms; all 
Egypt was under British rule, being improved agricul- 
turally and economically. 

The whole world seemed asleep, in friendliness and 
in peace. And yet, unknown to Davison and his two 


frlcnds l unknown, in fact, to the 

the of 

as the life of the sheep-herder OE the 

of the Argentine^ or of the trapper In 

northern Russia, was changed, by the 

violence of a war of which he but dimly, If 

at all, so the lives of the simple, native on 

upper reaches of the Nile 5 flowing slowly evenly 
through centuries of human toil and conflict, were to be 
moved, altered, smitten by the recoil from the struggle 
of their Christian brethren, thousands of miles distant 
But Davison and his friends sat on, under the African 
stars, smoked their pipes in peace, and happily thought 
only of the immediate morrow and of the big game that 
was awaiting them. 

So, we have the background of the trip, much as 
Harry afterwards described it by word of mouth to his 
friends. All the details of the hunting expedition are 
vividly portrayed by Davison, himself, in his diary of 
the trip, which will be found in an appendix to this 

This diary is of unusual interest because it is one 
of the rare written records that Davison has left. He 
never kept a journal of what he was doing in the great 
world of affairs. For that sort of thing he had neither 
the time nor the inclination. But his African holiday 
had been looked forward to so long and, when it came, 
was of such vivid interest to him, that he recorded each 
day's happenings on the spot. Upon his return, he 
had this pencilled diary copied and had even made 
some preparations, before the War intervened, for hav- 
ing it privately printed for the pleasure of his family 
and friends, who had frequently urged him to do this. 

To those persons who are unaccustomed to the ways 
of big-game hunters, his detailed recital may not be so 


as it Is to those who are somewhat familiar 
with the excitements of the chase. The Davison expe- 
dition a double purpose, to the extent that it was 
planned not merely for the sake of sport and recreation, 
but also for the purpose of securing some first-class 
specimens for the American Museum of Natural His- 
tory in New York, of which Davison was Treasurer. 
In this objective, as in the personal one, the trip was 
more than usually successful. 

Supplementing Harry Davison's very full recital, 
Jack Prentice himself kept an outline diary of the trip. 
What he says as to the shooting of the white rhinoc- 
eroses, which Davison describes graphically in his 
j is of interest: 

In going up to the bodies of the three dead rhino, 
to our utter amazement and chagrin, we found that 
we had killed three white "square-nosed" rhino. 
They are protected. We had permission to shoot one 
for the American Museum of Natural History, but 
to kill three, even by accident so to speak, was in- 
deed bad news. I was worried about the rhino and 
suggested taking them out by the Belgian Congo, as 
they were fine specimens. Harry said : "Don't give 
it a thought, but let me do the talking when we get 
back to Khartum." 

When we arrived at Khartum, Harry arranged the 
whole matter in half an hour with Sir Reginald Win- 
gate, Sirdar of the Sudan. The big rhino was to be 
mounted whole for the American Museum, and 
Harry and I, by paying 100 apiece, took the other 
two heads as museum specimens. 

Prentice also gives a running account of the day 


a huge 5 Davi- 

SOE himselfj an IE 

by Davison In his record. says: 

One evening Harry a fair-sized 

elephant, and next he and I, 

bearers apiece, started out to for him. We 
no trace of the wounded bull, and Harry very 

much disappointed, more so, I think, than I ever 
saw him. I climbed to the top of a big ant hill, 
looked over all the country with my glasses^ and saw 
about two miles away, a huge, solitary, bull elephant 
Even at that distance, I could see he had wonderful 
ivory. I told this to Harry and he was as pleased as 
a boy, for It was his shot. We went up to the ele- 
phant which was standing In a sort of marsh. As we 
approached him, he began to move off at right angles 
to us. Harry shot him four times, and seemed to be 
hurting him. He was then about a hundred yards 
off. Much to our surprise, he turned like a polo pony 
and came right at us on a gallop. His trunk and 
tusks were held high In the air, and It was the most 
handsome sight, as Harry said, either of us had ever 
seen. There was not even a bush between us and 
him, and the only thing to do was to kill him or turn 
him. Harry and I each gave him two barrels In the 
head, and did not reach his brain. But he did not 
seem to care for It, and he turned and moved off 
slowly. We followed him up, and after a few more 
shots he went down. 

I have never in my life seen a more delighted man 
than Harry Davison was, when he saw what a won- 
derful trophy he had. The tusks, which weighed 
eighty-five pounds apiece, are now in his house at 


Peacock Point, and I think that there are few larger 
of museums. 

As to this particularly exciting adventure, I may 
add that Harry Davison's testimony was always to the 
effect that, if Jack Prentice had not handled himself 
and his rifle just as he did, Davison's own chance for 
escape from this wounded and furious elephant would 
have been small indeed. But Prentice always disputed 
Harry^s statement on this point. Prentice's story gives 
this final, amusing picture : 

Water buffalo have a bad name in Africa, and one 
day when a wounded bull was looking savagely at 
Harry, a big thorn tree was the only protection near 
at hand. Harry said "I went right to the top of 
that tree, and, when I got there, there was not a thorn 
on It.' 3 He came home all cut to pieces. 

And so, leaving behind him all the glamour of the 
big game country, the trumpeting elephant, the snort- 
ing hippo, the roaring lion and the panting hart turn- 
ing his back for good and all upon the red-rimmed 
sunsets, upon the still nights aglow with stars shining 
down from the kingdom of the heavens, and upon the 
sudden dawns, "coming up like thunder" Davison re- 
turned to a workaday world. As he cast his last look 
upon the mud-walled huts of Khartum, little did he 
realize that, within the year, he would be in the Min- 
istry of War at London, sitting opposite Lord Kitchener 
of Khartum, and listening gravely to that grim war- 
rior's prediction that the War would be a matter of 
three, perhaps four or five years. All those matters still 
lay in the lap of the gods, and Davison was content to 
return to his work, refreshed with a wonderful trip, 


a to lay 

by In the of his 

The complete 

ever carried out, In order to provide for 

winter relaxation was his acquisition of a charming 
place for quail shooting In Southern Georgia^ near 

It happened that In 1916, at the Invitation of his 
good friend, Lewis Thompson, who was a thorough 
sportsman and one of the best shots In America f Davl- 
son spent a season at the Sunny Hill Plantation, about 
twenty miles south of Thomasvllle ? In Georgia. There 
the quail and the wild turkey shooting were excellent, 
but Davison was even more delighted with the whole 
atmosphere and life In southern Georgia. The country 
was little cultivated. The great sandy stretches were 
covered with tall, wiry grass and occasional clumps of 
pine and scrub, Ideal cover for the quail. The air was 
balmy but Invigorating, and before Davison had fin- 
ished Ms season at Sunny Hill he had determined that 
he would make that region the spot for his winter 

The War, and all the great Red Cross work which a 
few months later began to absorb his every waking and 
sleeping thought, and the frequent trips that he had 
to take overseas, turned him aside for the moment. 
But as soon as the Great War ended and a breathing 
space presented Itself, he bought Magnolia Plantation, 
a few miles from Thomasvllle, and there he spent part 
of the two succeeding winters. 

Magnolia Plantation was one of his usual "finds" 
that his friends would call lucky. But then It always 
seemed to happen that, when Davison determined to 


anything and set out to get it, luck came his 
way. In his case luck was not a fickle jade; it was a 
combination of his own shrewdness and determination, 
and the sort of devotion that sent friends and acquaint- 
ances from all over the world scurrying about to accom- 
plish for him any pet project, from acquiring a shoot- 
ing-box down to finding a police dog. 

Magnolia Plantation came to him, completely built 
and equipped a new, yet an old-fashioned, rambling, 
one-story, Southern mansion, built amply around a 
court In the centre of which sparkled a swimming pool. 
The house was fully furnished, down to the last detail, 
and all the stables, kennels, outbuildings and farm im- 
plements were ready for the Davlsons to come and take 
possession. This they did in December, 1920, and, as 
Harry was already in failing health by that time, Mag- 
nolia Plantation became a Mecca for his friends, dur- 
ing that winter and the winter of 1921 -'22. It was in 
the spring of the latter year that Mr. Morgan, after his 
West Indian cruise on the "Corsair," stopped at Mag- 
nolia to visit Harry on his journey north, bringing with 
him K C. Grenfell of the London house, who had for 
years been devoted to Davison. 

In the last few months which Harry Davison spent 
at Magnolia Plantation, he gave much thought to the 
development of the place and to the welfare of the 
people employed on it. He was anxious that it should 
be not simply an estate for his own recreation, but that 
it should be made productive to the community. Con- 
sequently, he made many improvements. He called in 
Government experts in order to find out the best use 
to make of the land; he improved about seventy acres 
of nut trees which had been neglected for many years ; 
he renovated the various cabins on the place, and 
worked out plans for diversified farming, whereby he 



to the of to the 

on it to the 

During the greater part of last of 

Harry Davison's life, the the 

of himself of his wife, their satisfac- 

tion seeming to be to give their pleasure. There 

he gathered about him almost all the of that 

circle of friends which he had drawn together in the 
early Englewood days of twenty years before. 

It was rather pathetic, and yet a delight, to see how 
keen Harry was to have his friends enjoy to the full the 
shooting and the riding which at that time he could not 
himself undertake. Every afternoon he would drive 
out with the wagons and the dogs, and he was far more 
disappointed than the rest if they failed to flush a satis- 
factory number of birds. Though invalided and op- 
pressed every day with severe pain, he was still the 
centre and chief of every gathering. He planned our 
days for us; he told us once again, at luncheon and at 
dinner, and sitting before the blazing logs in the eve- 
ning, the old stories and personal anecdotes that from 
his lips we had learned to love ? years before. He 
played the same pranks, he laughed the same infectious 
laugh. And when those of us who had risen before 
sun-up to try our luck with the wild turkeys, came rue- 
fully back to report to Harry in the words of the darkey 
guide, that "that there turkey, he just outsmarted us/' 
then Harry's smile was more infectious than ever. 

Those days at Magnolia Plantation seemed to be the 
Indian summer of Harry's life. He had had all the 
brimming, morning vigor of early youth, all the bril- 
liancy and glory of his middle life when the world was 
his and when he served it so well. And now, with his 
days growing shorter, came the mellowed, refining sun- 
shine of his closing years: his work accomplished, a 


"well done, thou good and faithful servant" hovering 
close above him; the woman of his heart and the 
friends of his choice, surrounding him in that golden 
haze of joyful reminiscence and old happiness lived 
over again together. 


A call that could not be denied Davison's for the organi- 

zation A factor in helping to win the War Hhtory of the orffannza- 
of its activities in both America and Europe Tnbntg$ to its 
accomplishments timber the Davison leadership His conception of 
ike International Red Cross President Wilson's 

IT WAS late one evening in the middle of May, 1917, 
that Harry Davison stood upon the after deck of a 
Jersey Central ferryboat which had just pulled slowly 
out from the Liberty Street slip into the North River. 
Across West Street from the ferry house was the Jersey 
Central Building. This was where, as assistant cashier 
of the Liberty National Bank more than twenty years 
before, Davison had fledged his wings as a New York 
banker. And it was in this same building In March, 
19035 that the Bankers Trust Company had first opened 
its doors upon a notable career which he had Initiated. 
After a few moments of silence, as the Manhattan 
shore line receded and the lofty towers of twinkling 
lights gradually grew dim, Davison remarked to his 
companion, George Case, quietly but with real feeling: 
I don't believe I shall ever go back there. 1 ' 
Of course he did go back many times, but if at that 
moment he had an Intuition that he would not return to 
the activities of his former business and social life, that 
remark was indeed prophetic; for Harry Davison had 
entered upon a new phase of his life, the most signifi- 
cant, as later he and his friends felt At any rate, it was 
the final chapter of his active career. He was on his 



way to Washington that night to assume the director- 
ship of the American Red Cross, as the Chairman of its 
War Council. 

As he stood there on the ferryboat, looking back, 
were some of the scenes of his strenuous life in the great 
city going through his active mind? That swift rise of 
his a young man hardly out of the twenties to the 
presidency of the Liberty National Bank; then his 
entry into larger fields as vice-president of the First 
National Bank; his step through the doors of J. P. 
Morgan & Co. and his vivid association with the com- 
manding personality of the late Mr. Morgan; all his 
activities in banking matters and his efforts to further 
sound banking legislation; the outbreak of the Great 
War; his eagerness that the firm should play a part in 
the financial fields of the War, that would be helpful to 
the Allied cause and constructive to American indus- 
try; his own participation in the great operations de- 
signed to those ends! Such may well have been the 
trend of his thoughts as the shores of Manhattan re- 
ceded, and as he moved to the other end of the boat, 
looking forward to the new and formidable task that 
he was about to undertake. 

Volumes have been written covering the War story of 
the American Red Cross. Exhaustive details of its 
achievements, and of the work of thousands of men and 
women who made them possible, have been published. 
Among them, one of the most interesting is the volume 
which bears Davison's own name.* While the greater 
part of the text of this book was originally prepared by 
John K. Mumford, a member of the Red Cross staff in 
Washington, the whole volume was Davison's own con- 

*The American Red Cross in the Great War, by Henry P. Davison, Chair- 
man of the War Council of the American Red Cross ; The Macmillan. Com- 
pany, New York, 1919. 


He the 

so It is to say it is his 
It faithfully sets his it 

be by any one to in de- 

tail is possible in a a vivid 

of the Red Cross through DavisoE % s in the 

there are perhaps as to "German 

atrocities" which, in the light of later days, would 
now seem extreme to Davison to all of us. Also ? 
under the stimulus of War-time emotion, it is likely 
some over-statements are made which in retrospect, 
if he were living, Davison would now modify. But, by 
and large f that volume really breathes the spirit of the 
man at his work and pictures the significance which it 
held for him. 

This chapter cannot, of course, for a moment^ be 
taken as a history of the Red Cross in the Great War. 
It would be impossible to describe, within the compass 
of one chapter on Davison's life, even the most impor- 
tant events in that stupendous Red Cross undertaking; 
and to do so would confuse and overwhelm the tale of 
the man himself. He was the chief actor, it is true, but 
the way in which he approached and solved his prob- 
lems, his foresight and the imagination he displayed, 
and finally the effect of it all upon the man himself 
those are the features of chief interest to the present 
narrative. References to the men and women who sur- 
rounded him, and to the work which they did, are not 
at all to be taken as adequate descriptions of their 
share in the task, but simply as necessary parts of the 

As is well known, the American National Red Cross 
is a quasi-governmental institution. It was chartered 
by Act of Congress in 1905, although its history pre- 
cedes that period by many years. Its president is the 


President of the United States, and members of the 
Government sit upon Its central committee. Its funds 
are derived from voluntary contributions, but Its books 
are audited by the War Department. For many years, 
prior to the outbreak of the World War in 1914, the 
Red Cross organization had been active in emergency 
relief , but its funds and personnel were relatively small. 
During the War, up to April, 1917, when the United 
States became a belligerent, the activities of the Red 
Cross had expanded substantially. Already an Impos- 
ing total of chapters and memberships under the active 
direction of Eliot Wadsworth, of Boston, as chairman 
of the executive committee, occupied the attention of 
Headquarters at the time when the War opened. 

Shortly after America had declared war, the leaders 
In Red Cross circles bestirred themselves, for it was 
apparent that the peace-time organization and equip- 
ment could not begin to cope with the problems ahead. 
Among the many active workers at this time were Miss 
Mabel Boardman, to whose interest and devotion so 
much of the pre-War history of the American Red 
Cross owes a great debt; Mrs. William K. Draper, a 
leading spirit in the New York Chapter ; Cleveland H. 
Dodge, an Intimate friend of President Wilson's; 
Charles D. Norton, vice-president of the First Na- 
tional Bank of New York; and Cornelius N. Bliss, Jr., 
for years active in philanthropic work in New York, 
and an intimate friend of Davison's. 

There were many conferences leading up to the final 
decision that a War Council should be constituted: a 
body within the Red Cross with broad executive power 
and authority to act promptly and efficiently. Even- 
tually, President Wilson and the governing bodies of 
the Red Cross agreed upon such a Council with seven 
members. The next and most important step was the 

,,'^i^'.l|*-',4^/,''" r t^t ,,^/^isj], 

r , 

Evv,'^A' " 


selection of a chairman who would, In effect, be the 
chief executive officer of the entire Red Cross in its 
War-time operation. Bliss's recollection is that the first 
suggestion that Davison should be selected came from 
his partner, Dwight W. Morrow, who gave the thought 
to Bliss himself. Bliss was greatly pleased with the 
idea and spared no effort to bring it into being, carrying 
the message to Cleveland H. Dodge who, in turn with 
Colonel House, finally persuaded the President to make 
such an appointment. 

At first Davison was loath even to consider the call. 
He foresaw clearly that it would require every moment 
of his time, and that all of his other highly important 
interests must be completely dropped. It Is probable 
that his own aspiration for service in the War was along 
other lines. He said himself that, on the evening of the 
day President Wilson formally tendered him the posi- 
tion of Chairman of the Red Cross War Council, he 
went to bed convinced that he could not accept, only to 
arise in the morning convinced that he could not de- 
cline. His final consent being given, there was a mem- 
orable confirmatory conference with President Wilson 
at the White House, at which Robert W. deForest and 
Eliot Wadsworth were also present. 

President Wilson originally had a distinct prejudice 
against any so-called "Wall Street man." The pre- 
sumption at any rate in his mind was against the man 
whose career and training had been identified with that 
much-maligned region of finance. Cleveland H. 
Dodge, himself, was closely associated with corporate 
finance, but in his own case, as a result of their sympa- 
thetic association in Princeton days, he had never 
encountered the President's prejudice. Without doubt 
Mr. Dodge's eager championing of Davison did much, 
and very likely became the controlling factor, in per- 


suadlng the President to make this appointment At 
first Mr. Wilson and Davlson did not see completely 
eye to eye, but, as time went on, this trace of Incompati- 
bility disappeared. The President began to appreciate 
the whole-hearted devotion of the man whom he had 
selected, and gave him his cordial support. It could 
hardly be otherwise, for though the two men differed 
widely in their methods of thought and execution, they 
were at one in the broad field of humanitarianism. The 
War had not been under way a year before Davison 
had won Mr. Wilson's complete confidence. This con- 
tinued unabated until the War over and peace signed 
Davison relinquished his Red Cross work. 

As for Davlson's personal equipment for undertaking 
the direction of the American Red Cross, it has many 
times been said that he possessed the chief attributes 
of command. Men were attracted to him, and freely 
gave him their affection, their confidence and their 
loyalty. He had, by his long career in banking, estab- 
lished among his countrymen a reputation for integrity 
and ability exceeded in the case of few, if any, of his 
contemporaries, so that his judgment was respected 
and his counsel heeded. That heady wine Success had 
not changed the man or his manners. He still had the 
simplicity, the humor, and the enthusiasm of the com- 
panionable boy who had grown up in the Pennsylvania 
hills. He had the clearest of vision and a mind, oper- 
ating with speed and directness, that went almost un- 
erringly to essentials. He was disciplined in manner, 
tolerant of intelligent opposition, and considerate of the 
other man's viewpoint and feelings. He had the gift 
of patience, and it made him slow to wrath. And be- 
hind these talents were high courage and great power 
of mind and body. He had at once realized the magni- 
tude of the task, and from the start he devoted himself 


unswervingly to It: first, to the study of policy and 
scope of operation ; second, to organization and money- 
raising; finally, to the administration of the expanded 
organization in a world aflame. 

Only a few weeks after Davison had undertaken his 
new work, a rather notable, informal conference was 
held at the Metropolitan Club in Washington. Accord- 
ing to Cornelius Bliss's recollection, there were present, 
beside himself and Harry Davison, Charles Norton, 
Grayson Murphy, Seward Prosser and Eliot Wads- 
worth. Davison had said : "Well, what is the first thing 
we have to do?" And it was naturally the consensus 
that the Red Cross must have a large war fund, if it 
was to be put in a position to fulfill the obligation set 
forth in the Congressional charter: a To furnish vol- 
unteer aid to the sick and wounded of armies in time 
of war . . . To act in matters of voluntary relief and 
in accord with the military and naval authorities as 
a medium of communication between the people of 
the United States of America and their Army and 
Navy. . . ." 

"How much shall this War Fund be?" Various esti- 
mates were suggested, none of which exceeded $10,- 
000,000. When it came Davison's turn to speak, he 
said impressively: "We are going out for $100,000,000." 
Bliss says you could have heard a pin drop, and then 
came a chorus of protests. But Davison was immov- 
able. "You fellows do not realize," he insisted, "what 
the Red Cross will mean to the American people in 
time of war." 

Then he turned quickly to Seward Prosser and said : 
"You are going to be the chairman of the committee 
to raise the fund." Prosser's reply was : "I will do any- 
thing you say, but I cannot see how it is possible." 
From that time on nobody spoke or thought of any- 


thing less than Davison's "Impossible" $100,0005000. 
And he was right. That first drive (conducted during 
the week, June 18-25, 1917) brought from the Amer- 
ican people not only the hundred million, but approxi- 
mately one hundred and fourteen million dollars. 

Davison's bold declaration was destined to set a 
standard for all Red Cross aims in war. He showed 
his own broad conception of the work when he said : 
"In the days of Florence Nightingale the mission of 
Red Cross was almost exclusively to aid the wounded 
individual. Such are the conditions today that the mis- 
sion of the Red Cross is not only to aid the wounded 
Individual but to extend succor to wounded nations." 

Among the leading figures in the Red Cross in these 
early days, persons with whom Davison had consulted 
regarding the creation of the War Council and his own 
appointment to it were, of course, President Wilson, 
who, as stated, was the president of the Red Cross, and 
its vice-president, Robert W. deForest, of New York, 
for many years an active figure in all Red Cross matters. 
John W. Davis, then Solicitor-General of the United 
States, was counselor of the Red Cross. Franklin W. 
M. Cutcheon, a good friend of Davison's and a well- 
known lawyer in New York, became secretary-general. 
After Mr. Cutcheon retired to enter the Army, Dr. 
Stockton Axson became secretary. Dr. Axson was 
President Wilson's brother-in-law, a man of scholarly 
attainments, earnest, sincere and devoted. Davison's 
association with him grew to be intimate and delight- 
ful. One of the Chairman's assistants overheard him, 
on one occasion, outlining to Dr. Axson the terms of a 
letter that he wanted drafted for transmission to the 
International Red Cross at Geneva. He wound up by 
saying: "Please make the letter sound like grand opera, 
Dr. Axson." And the secretary was equal to the task. 


It was on a Monday morning, May 14, 1917, that 
Davlson arrived In Washington to take up his task as 
the newly appointed Chairman of the War Council. 
He had reserved a suite of rooms In the old Shoreham 
Hotel, and for the time being he made this his head- 
quarters. He had with him only his personal secre- 
taries and two or three friends. After breakfast this 
small party proceeded promptly to the new Red Cross 
Headquarters on iyth Street. 

The beautiful Red Cross building, which was to be 
the scene of Davison^s work for nearly two years, 
had, by the greatest good fortune, just been finished. 
Through the efforts of Miss Mabel Boardman and 
Captain J. A. Scrymser, Congress appropriated part of 
the funds needed for this building, and the balance was 
made available through the great generosity of Captain 
Scrymser, Mrs. E. H. Harriman, Mrs. Russell Sage and 
the Rockefeller Foundation. It Is difficult to picture 
the additional physical handicaps under which the 
War-time operations would have labored, had there not 
been available for immediate use this suitable home, 
and vacant land around it for the erection of temporary 

On arrival at Headquarters that morning, Davison 
Introduced his companions to Eliot Wadsworth. Wads- 
worth, who had had years of experience in engineering 
and business, had been going through some strenuous 
months as chairman of the executive^ committee ; for, 
with the enormous responsibilities and tasks ahead, he 
and his associates, already on the ground, realized with 
grave misgiving the organization's lack in personnel, 
equipment and working funds. He was now Vice- 
Chairman of the new War Council, and he welcomed 
eagerly the advent of Davison and the other Council 
members. They had come at the right moment, for the 


Vice-Chairman, "Waddy," as he was familiarly called, 
literally had his coat off. Not only was the work ardu- 
ous, but that was an unusually hot spring and summer 
in Washington. At first it was a little difficult for both 
Davison and Wadsworth to see just how the new organ- 
ization was to be coupled with the old, so that all the 
machinery should function smoothly. But between the 
two men, the Chairman and Wadsworth, his second in 
command, there was always not only the heartiest co- 
operation and warmth of personal feeling, but also full 
accord on policies. 

It was a bewildering scene of confusion that pre- 
sented itself to those who were in Washington in those 
early days. It almost seemed as though the entire 
population of the United States either was in Washing- 
ton or was burning to get there and take a job. People 
were rushing around, excited and eager, but for the 
moment accomplishing little. The resulting confusion 
was so appalling as to be amusing as well as distressing. 
All of the Government's new War-time committees and 
boards were getting under way ; and, in addition, cen- 
tralization was being attempted of the vast military 
and other Governmental organizations which were ex- 
panding almost overnight from peace-time to war-time 

The scene at the Red Cross Headquarters was no 
exception. The crowd in the big marble building sim- 
ply seethed about the new Chairman. There was 
hardly room to turn around. What with out-of-town 
delegations, vast piles of letters and telegrams from 
every part of the country to answer, the new organiza- 
tion to form, the first War Fund of $100,000,000 to 
launch, and a thousand and one projects eagerly poured 
into his ear, it is no wonder that the new Chairman 
was distracted and a little dismayed. And after a full 


day of this sort of thing there was no let-up in the eve- 
ning. As a matter of fact, he didn't get to bed before 
two o'clock any morning during that first week, al- 
though up at seven o'clock and at Headquarters at nine. 

And so it went on, day after day. Little by little, 
here and there, a semblance of order was beginning to 
appear. Every now and then some competent man or 
woman, out of the hundreds applying, could be slipped 
Into a niche where he seemed to fit. From the very be- 
ginning, such a burning fervor and enthusiasm seized 
the Chairman as to bewilder his friends on the Council, 
though, in turn, they were fired with the same spirit 
Many of them had had a vague Idea that an occasional 
visit to Washington, to attend to the "high spots," 
would enable them to discharge their duties. They 
were soon disabused. 

The American Red Cross, and what it could be made 
to mean, became a religion which occupied the Chair- 
man's every waking thought. It was to him inconceiv- 
able that any American man or woman would, or could, 
decline to serve the Red Cross on full time, yes, and 
overtime, unless devoted in some other way to a 
necessary patriotic service. And so one would see the 
new Chairman somewhat imperiously summoning this 
or that man, or woman, or group, from any and all 
quarters of the land. Almost without exception, these 
summons in the name of the Red Cross were willingly 
heeded, for, almost from the start, it became recognized 
that Davison's apparently dictatorial attitude was no 
pose, but the outcome of a total sinking of self in a 

Here Is a bit of his speech, delivered in Washington 
later on in December, 1917, which was no mere decla- 
mation but an unexaggerated statement of devotion to 
a spiritual cause : 


The Red Cross has given me a new conception of 
America and the American Spirit. It is with the 
zeal of a convert that I invite the American people 
to come In with me under President Wilson and 
make It the nation-wide organization that Is de- 
manded by these times. . . . Our job in the Ameri- 
can Red Cross is to bind up the wounds of a bleeding 
world. . . . Think Red Cross! Talk Red Cross! 
Be Red Cross 1 

Not many days had elapsed before the heavy task 
ahead of the Chairman and of his associates began to 
clarify itself somewhat in their minds, and it was pos- 
sible gradually to look ahead and realize the varied 
nature of the whole enterprise. First, orderliness must 
succeed confusion ; in other words, better organization 
must be had. Then all eyes must be turned to the 
gigantic task of the First Drive for the War Fund a 
critical test to be met at the very start. Early in the 
programme of planning must come a mission to France. 
The need for tangible help, such as the American Red 
Cross could render to the French, was urgent. 

Then, too, Davison began to realize that, as a neces- 
sary part of the task of getting the whole American 
community into the spirit of Red Cross, he must take 
up what was for him a real burden and prepare himself 
for public speaking on an extensive scale. He could 
see, also, that his presence in Europe might soon be- 
come essential. It might prove of prime importance 
that to people of all classes in Europe, from kings and 
prime ministers to the Tommies and the poilu, the Red 
Cross should become personified through closer indi- 
vidual contacts between the active head of the Amer- 
ican organization and their brethren across the Atlantic. 

With such far-reaching plans ahead, it was of course 


essential that the Chairman should have close at hand, 
to aid and support him day by day, men and women 
largely of his own choosing: persons whom he had 
already found true and tried or who were commended 
to him by other friends In whose judgment he placed 
implicit trust And such were the persons whom he 
gathered around him. 

As to the War Council Itself, the original appoint- 
ments by the President were: Henry P. Davison, 
Charles D. Norton, Cornelius N. Bliss, Jr. (later In 
charge of the War Funds and known as i The Watch 
Dog of the Treasury"), Grayson 1VL-P. Murphy and 
Edward N. Hurley; and under the plan, the chair- 
man of the central committee, ex-President William 
Howard Taf t, and Eliot Wadsworth, then chairman of 
the executive committee, became members ex officio. 
The membership of the War Council was seven. Its 
powers were so broad as practically to constitute it the 
sole executive body for the period of the War. Vacan- 
cies in the War Council occurred through resignations 
from time to time, and were filled by President Wilson 
upon Davison's nomination. There served at various 
times in place of those first named: John D. Ryan, 
Harvey D. Gibson, George B. Case, George E. Scott 
and Jesse H. Jones. 

Other men and women, who had already become, or 
were shortly to become, ardent and important leaders In 
Red Cross, gathered around the Chairman. Miss Jane 
A. Delano, director-general of the Department of 
Nursing, a noble and inspiring figure, whose experi- 
ence and wisdom in that difficult job of hers, won from 
Davison devoted respect and admiration. "What does 
Miss Delano say about that?" How often did his as- 
sociates hear that query from him! Her answer almost 
always settled the question. She died in the course 


of doty In France. Rarely have his friends seen the 
Chairman more deeply affected than when he received 
this news. 

Then there were the distinguished members of the 
medical advisory committee, of which Dr. Simon Flex- 
ner was chairman. Dr. William H, Welch, of Johns 
Hopkins; Dr. Frank Billings of Chicago, and Dr. Her- 
man M. Biggs of New York, were among the most 
active members. With this committee, Davison spent 
many hours in conference or correspondence. From 
them he learned much of the technical and practical, 
war-time bearing of such subjects as camp sanitation, 
the treatment of trench fever, the pros and cons of 
the vivisection controversy, prophylaxis, tuberculosis, 
influenza and all those kindred subjects, the treatment 
of which by the military authorities, with the Red Cross 
as their auxiliary, might mean the difference between 
success or failure In the War. 

The women's advisory committee was headed by 
Mrs. William K. Draper of New York, one of the out- 
standing figures in the Red Cross then and today. Her 
experience went back to those dark times In 1898, at 
Montauk Point, at the end of the Spanish- American 
War, when the Red Cross went through heavy days in 
caring for the disabled American soldiers. Absolutely 
and completely devoted, as both she and Davison were, 
to the Red Cross cause, their mutual confidence and 
esteem enabled them to iron out difficulties and turn 
friction into harmony. For all was not harmony in 
those early days. How could it have been? And yet 
nine-tenths of any serious disagreement over ways and 
means, throughout the Red Cross world, arose from 
superabundant enthusiasm. The fire of a great com- 
mon purpose could not long be obscured by the mere 
smoke arising from friction as to method. 


Mrs. August Belmont, appointed assistant to the 
War Council, took up her residence in Washington as 
a full-time member of the staff. A wonderful public 
speaker, a tireless worker, charming, wise and tolerant, 
formally appointed as aide to the Chairman, her serv- 
ices became invaluable. 

The friends who were close to Davison often heard 
from his own lips his appreciation of the attitude and 
work of these helpers, the esteem which he had for 
them, and for the host of others whose names spring to 
mind but must be omitted for lack of space. Davison, 
himself, was learning, as never before, to appraise and 
to tolerate; for, while he was never an obstinate man, 
his views once formed were strongly adhered to. At 
first a serious difference of opinion with a person would 
sometimes tinge his judgment of that person's qualities. 
As time went on, however, he rapidly cultivated that 
fine measure of toleration which could leave him un- 
convinced and yet with respect undiminished. His 
associates, almost without exception, likewise learned, 
largely from his example, the lesson of toleration and, 
even though sometimes slow in yielding any differing 
opinion that they might have, accepted his decisions 
with complete loyalty and cooperation. 

The habits of planning and work, that had grown 
upon him through all his life of affairs, Davison natu- 
rally brought with him to his Red Cross work. It had, 
for example, been his constant practice to carry beyond 
all ordinary business or social hours any matter that 
was of great interest to him. Thus in the Red Cross 
work conferences around the dinner table and late into 
the evening were the rule and not the exception, and 
although his demands upon the time of others were 
heavy and sometimes irritating, the overtime was made 
easier by that ever-present, whimsical humor of his 


which could frequently turn the dullest or most exact- 
log task Into recreation. These late-hour habits of a 
lifetime carried over into the War work with redoubled 
intensity. And they were not occasional, but continued 
day after day. 

It became apparent, soon after his arrival in Wash- 
ington, that nocturnal habits of work, such as those 
followed by Davison, could be continued in a crowded 
hotel only with great difficulty and hardship. So, al- 
most at once, the Chairman personally rented the estate 
called Twin Oaks. Twin Oaks deserves a bit of de- 
scription, for during the next two years it was the 
scene of so many interesting meetings, discussions and 
decisions. There were any number of Red Cross 
workers who either lived there temporarily or passed 
as guests within the doors of Twin Oaks. They were 
guests only in name, however, for the house became a 
second Red Cross Headquarters, almost as important 
as the official one downtown. 

Twin Oaks is located on Woodley Lane in the Chevy 
Chase section, near the main artery of Massachusetts 
Avenue a fifteen-minute motor-trip from Red Cross 
Headquarters. The place had belonged to Grosvenor 
Hubbard, an associate of Alexander Graham Bell. At 
the time Davison took it, it was the property of the 
family of Hubbard's son-in-law, Charles J. Bell. The 
house was a comfortable, three-story affair, built in the 
style of a preceding Washington generation, with wide 
halls and spacious library and living rooms. Upstairs, 
on the second floor, were Davison's bedroom and two 
others, besides another sitting room. On the third 
floor, there were three bedrooms. All of the spare bed- 
rooms were continuously occupied by various members 
of the Red Cross staff. Some of them were Charles D. 
Norton, John D. Ryan, Martin Egan, Ivy Lee, and 


George B. Case. A guest room was maintained on the 
ground floor also. In which many a distinguished Red 
Cross visitor spent the night, or what was left of a 
night after the day's business was finished. 

Around this homelike dwelling, which was situated 
upon a picturesque knoll, there stretched spacious 
grounds dotted with fine old trees, including the "Twin 
Oaks' 1 themselves, together with handsome shrubbery. 
From the porch facing the south, the City of Washing- 
ton could be seen stretching away to the distant horizon, 
with the Washington Monument looming up across it. 
It was upon this porch, looking out upon this scene, 
by night as well as day, that men and women from all 
over the country listened to the persuasive words of the 
Chairman. Many of those who were to enlist for serv- 
ice in foreign countries received their sailing orders 
here. Here It was that many "Red Crossers 1 * signed up 
for the duration of the War, turning their backs upon 
home and upon all the ways of living that they cared 
for most. 

As for the first great, concrete task that Chairman 
Davlson had to address himself to, it had been pro- 
claimed by President Wilson that the First War Fund 
Drive was to be undertaken as early as the week of 
June 18-25, 1917, just following the completion of the 
First Liberty Loan Drive. Naturally, the energies of 
everybody were concentrated upon this, the first prodi- 
gious War-time call of the Red Cross. There were 
numerous accounts of how Davison first came to elec- 
trify the Red Cross following, and indeed the whole 
United States, by his audacity in asking for such a large 
sum as $100,000,000. Regardless of when, or where, 
or how many times he declared for the huge sum to be 
raised, there is no particle of doubt but that, at this 


time, Davison's conception of the size of the fund to be 
asked for, and Its significance to the nation, had far out- 
stripped the thought or imagination of his associates. 

It was in just this sort of situation that Davison's 
foresight and courage in small as well as In large things 
marked him as a man apart He was not particularly 
strong In the matter of detail. Or, perhaps, it is better 
to say that he would not permit detail to surround and 
confuse him. In almost any situation, he could always 
see one or two jumps ahead of those around him, and 
when he made up his mind to action nothing discour- 
aged him. So it was here. He saw this war as a tre- 
mendous catastrophe. He had seen it close at hand in 
his various trips to Europe from 1914 to 1917. He 
knew what it meant in suffering to those people "over 
there," and he knew what it might mean in suffering 
to his own country as well. He was certain that his 
fellow-citizens were heart and soul in the great task, 
and that, if given a proper objective, they would go as 
far as their leaders could show the way. 

Again and again, he told his co-workers at Twin Oaks 
and at Headquarters that he had no particle of doubt 
of the success of this first great drive. So sure was he 
that, after the organization was set up and under way, 
he turned his attention quite away from the drive and 
devoted himself to the problems which would imme- 
diately follow the raising of the money. 

Huge drives of this kind had not been known before, 
and the excitement, enthusiasm and suspense of the 
whole staff were at fever heat as the returns of that 
memorable week In June came in over the wire. The 
least excited and the least surprised, if surprised at all, 
was the Chairman. The results are well known. Over 
$113,000,000 was subscribed in one week, and the Red 
Cross membership jumped to over 5,000,000. Seward 



Prosser 5 as executive chairman of this drive, together 
with the hosts of able associates which he gathered 
around him and enlisted in all quarters of the country, 
set new precedents in organization for such affairs, 
precedents which hold good to this day In their effec- 
tiveness. Given a good cause, the people of this country 
will invariably respond, provided only that, throughout 
the length and breadth of the land, they can be well 
informed. Organization must be widely effective to 
reach them all, but with it success is unfailing. This 
fact Davison believed and proved. 

As one looks back upon this first great Red Cross ef- 
fort, one's appreciation of this man's foresight grows. 
It is doubtful if a single person, with whom Davison 
came in contact at the time, believed that the accom- 
plishment, which he planned was possible. On the con- 
trary, there were many who urged against seeking such 
a huge sum, for fear that in its failure the Red Cross 
War work, in general, would have a setback. It has 
frequently been said that the raising of this first instal- 
ment of the War Fund (the total of the funds grew in 
time to be over $400,000,000) was an object lesson to 
the people of this country, so permanent and so inspiring 
as to open the way and make possible those subsequent, 
enormous outpourings of gifts, not only for the Red 
Cross, but for other voluntary organizations during the 
War and since. The Allied nations abroad were mak- 
ing frightful sacrifice in men and treasure, the sort of 
suffering that, happily, fell to the lot of Americans 
upon only a limited scale. But to this particular form 
of effort, that manifested itself in the great drives for 
funds, there has never been a parallel, in this or any 
other country. 

Although all the activities of Red Cross organization 
did not come to a head in the very early days, many 


did, and Intense study was required even to begin to 
make clear the size of the problems. Ways and means 
of handling them seemed, at the start, very confused. 
While on May i, 1917, just before the War Council 
was appointed, there were some 480,000 members and 
562 chapters, beginning immediately thereafter, the 
membership and number of chapters continuously ex- 
panded until, on February 28, 1919, when the War 
Council retired, there were over 20,000,000 senior mem- 
bers and 11,000,000 junior members; and there were 
something like 3,724 chapters and 17,186 branches. 

How could a relatively small staff group, in the single 
crowded building at Headquarters, even attempt to 
handle effectively such a disordered and pressing ac- 
cumulation of business? Despite the hardest of hard 
work and long hours, the confusion at Headquarters 
continued to be bewildering and to grow worse rather 
than better. One of the most disheartening features 
was the slowing-up of detail work, necessarily incident 
to this confusion. For example, most of the local 
organizations, in the chapters throughout the country 
were headed by people of importance who felt, and had 
the right to feel, that their ideas and plans should 
receive prompt and respectful attention at Headquar- 
ters. Yet, there were not minutes enough in the 
twenty-four hours for even the constantly increasing 
staff to begin to attend to all the pressing letters, tele- 
grams and visitors, and, at the same time, to devise 
general plans for the future. All the good-will and 
devotion in the world cannot bring great results if 
method and system do not provide the channels. 

At the end of one long evening at Twin Oaks, Wads- 
worth, rather pathetically and humorously, twitted the 
Chairman in somewhat these words : "I thought when 
all of you marvelous organizers came down here we 


should have order and system. But just look at the 
mess !" 

Something had to be done. 

Harvey D. Gibson was, at this time, president of the 
Liberty National Bank in New York, that same institu- 
tion which had been Davison's first love In his banking 
career. He had grown up, in recent business years, 
under the eye of Davlson who had been chairman of 
the executive committee of that bank. Gibson's flair 
for organization and system was well known. He was 
summoned to Washington and was told that the Red 
Cross needed him ; that he must take charge of a reor- 
ganization of the machinery. Somewhat ruefully after 
that conference, he said to some friends: "I wish you 
could get me out of this ; I don't see how I can possibly 
leave my work." 

Of course, he did leave his work. He came to Wash- 
ington, rented a house and gathered around him a 
notable force, recruited from the ranks of the American 
Telephone & Telegraph Co. and of the American Ex- 
press Co., and elsewhere. 

One must mention, at least by name, some of the 
most active men in this group working under Gibson. 
There were George Murnane, later a partner in Lee, 
HIgginson & Co. In New York, Joseph M. Hartfield, a 
member of the New York law firm of White & Case, 
and George E. Scott, now president of the American 
Steel Foundries, in Chicago. Scott subsequently suc- 
ceeded Gibson as general manager and as member of 
the War Council, when Gibson was despatched for 
service in France, succeeding, there, James H. Perkins 
as commissioner, after Perkins had gone into the Army. 

While he was general manager, and later when he 
went to France, Harvey Gibson had as one of his as- 
sistants an exceedingly able and delightful woman, 


Miss Elizabeth Hoyt, now the wife of Sir Ronald Lind- 
say, the present Ambassador from Great Britain to the 
United States. In France, particularly, many difficul- 
ties were smoothed away with her help and that of Mrs. 
William K. Vanderbllt who, in addition to rendering 
excellent liaison service between the French and the 
American Red Cross, directed the women in the Can- 
teen Department conducted by the organization in 

There were also, as members of the "Junior War 
Council," Samuel Greer, James G. Elaine, now presi- 
dent of the Marine Midland Bank in New York, and 
Frederick P. Small, now the president of the American 
Express Company. These men, or most of them, lived 
with Gibson, and, in his house, the same nocturnal 
habits of work prevailed as at Twin Oaks. This group 
was, of course, in no sense working apart and independ- 
ently. Constantly, as a group or as individuals, at the 
office or at lunch or dinner, they met with the Chair- 
man and other members of the War Council. The 
plans, so readily described in a few lines, took twelve 
or sixteen hours of the day and seven days of the week 
to work out, In all their complicated details. 

As a result of all this endeavor, the Junior War Coun- 
cil finally completed and put into effect, on September 
i, 1917, the plan which changed the whole, loosely-knit 
organization into one of smoothly running and efficient 
operation. The change required not only time, but 
the covering of a wide sweep of territory. Together 
with various members of his group, and frequently 
accompanied by the Chairman, Gibson, as general 
manager, took many trips near and far, and held many 
conferences, before the country was finally divided into 
thirteen geographical divisions. Each was headed by 
a man of known and tried experience and reputation. 


Around him centred the Red Cross activities of his 
particular division, and through these thirteen men ? 
the channels of communication with Headquarters were 
reduced from a multitude to thirteen a notably effec- 
tive decentralization. 

The work that these men did, giving up their entire 
time to it, constituted one of the most important con- 
tributions made to the success of the Red Cross. The 
divisions which they administered were as follows: 
New England, James Jackson; Atlantic, Ethan Allen; 
Pennsylvania, Charles Scott, Jr.; Potomac, Henry 
White; Southern, William Lawson Peel (succeeded by 
E. R. Black) ; Lake, James R. Garfield (succeeded by 

B. F. Bourne) ; Central, Bruce D. Smith (succeeded 
by Howard Fenton) ; Gulf, Leigh Carroll; Northern, 
A. R. Rogers (succeeded by F. H. Stolze, and later by 
Frank T. Heffelfinger) ; Southwestern, George W. 
Simmons; Mountain, John W. Morey; Northwestern, 

C. D. Stimson; Pacific, Marshall Hale (succeeded by 
John B. Miller). 

Another division was added later, the fourteenth, at 
the head of which was Otis H. Cutler, chairman of the 
American Brake Shoe & Foundry Company. This 
division included overseas memberships and chapters 
formed wherever Americans were grouped, throughout 
the world, outside the United States. Cutler was later 
to be of the greatest help to Davison in the organiza- 
tion of the League of Red Cross Societies. 

With the First War Fund Drive well launched and 
under way, the Chairman's next important and most 
pressing task was to set about the appointment of a Red 
Cross commission to France. 

Meantime, over there, events of grave portent had 
been happening at the front. It will be recalled that, 


early In April of 1917, when the President and the 
Congress of the United States were formulating the 
declaration of war against Germany, France was about 
to launch another offensive against the German army. 
General Nivelle, In conjunction with the British armies, 
prepared the general attack, and the field chosen was 
the high ground of the Chemin-des-Dames. That as- 
sault, costly in men and material, was a failure, and 
its results reacted far more seriously than the French 
or the world public then realized upon the morale of 
the French army and the French people, as well as upon 
the Allied commanders. The task of reorganizing the 
partly demoralized French troops was entrusted to 
General (later Marshal) Petain. 

More or less definite reports of that disaster of April, 
1917, found their way to Washington, and Davison 
and the other members of the Red Cross War Council, 
realizing that many months must elapse before Amer- 
ican troops could take their place in large numbers on 
the fighting front, decided upon a broad programme of 
war relief in France, designed to sustain confidence. It 
was a departure from the traditions of Red Cross, but 
it was a wise decision of important consequence to the 
Allied cause. The outstanding feature of the new 
policy of a militant American Red Cross was, as it 
afterwards developed, an appropriation of $1,000,000 
for the direct benefit of the families of General Petain's 
harassed soldiers, to be expended as he directed. 

Pershing knew the need and the peril of France, and 
when the Red Cross War Council asked him what it 
could do for him, he promptly cabled this reply: "If 
you want to do something for me, for God's sake buck 
up the French. They have been fighting for three 
years, and are getting ready for their fourth winter. 
They have borne a tremendous burden, and whatever 


assistance we can lend them promptly will be of the 
greatest possible value." 

Under these conditions, the composition of the com- 
mission to France was no light task. Not that there 
was any lack of men and women eager and anxious to 
go j but that the selection of the precisely right kind 
had to be made and almost equally important that 
the scope and nature of their Instructions had to be 
wisely conceived. Colonel Grayson M.-P. Murphy, 
himself a member of the War Council, a West Point 
graduate, and at the time a high-ranking officer In the 
Guaranty Trust Company, was selected to head this 
first commission. Murphy did a wonderful job, as did 
his successor, James H. Perkins. Both successively left 
the Red Cross at a later date, to enter the American 

Davison and his aides spent hours with Murphy mak- 
ing plans and arrangements for the selection and equip- 
ment of the mission and for its prompt departure. It 
sailed on June 2, 1917, arriving in the Gironde on the 
steamship "Lorraine" on June 12, a week before the 
First War Fund Drive had begun, another indication 
of the confidence of the Chairman and of the speed 
with which he acted* All told, there were eighteen 
men in this, the advance guard of the Red Cross, which 
was In time to expand to over 6,000 men and women 
In France alone. The instructions to this first mission 
were simple. Its members were told that their sole 
purpose was to render service, first to the French and 
later to the Americans as the latter came in numbers. 
And here it may be noted that over $95,000,000 in 
money and supplies were used in France in the twenty 
months prior to February 28, 1919, when the War 
Council's term of service ended. 

The Chairman's principal concern was that, in bring- 


Ing help, the mission should exercise great care that 
no national susceptibilities should be offended. This 
was to be the keynote in the instructions for all the 
foreign commissions; for, as Davison often said with 
great emphasis : "The greatest value in any gift is In 
the way you give it" 

The selection and dispatch of the various American 
commissions to foreign countries occupied much of the 
Chairman's time at this period, for while the details of 
equipment and the character of much of the personnel 
had necessarily to be delegated to others, he felt with 
seriousness the responsibility which was upon his in- 
dividual shoulders. Success or failure would rest 
largely upon the various leaders and, in turn, upon him 
as the one to whom they would look for authority. It 
was no light responsibility to uproot a band of men 
and women, take them away from their homes and 
vocations, and send them over dangerous seas on mis- 
sions where the problems and difficulties were un- 

Perhaps, a bird's-eye impression of the extent of the 
work involved, in the proper selection and sending of 
these commissions, can be given by appending a list of 
them with their respective leaders. To each was at- 
tached a large group of earnest associates, whose names, 
perhaps, should be included here, but obviously cannot 
for sheer lack of space. 

Commission to Russia: Commissioners William 
Boyce Thompson and Dr. Frank Billings, departed by 
way of Vladivostok and Siberia, on July 5, 1917. 

Commission to Great Britain: Commissioner Wil- 
liam Endicott, departed July 12, 1917. 

Preliminary Emergency Commission to Italy : Com- 
missioner George F. Baker, Jr., departed July 29, 


Commission to Roumania : Commissioner Henry W. 
Anderson, departed by way of Vladivostok and Siberia, 
on August 2, 1917. 

Commission to Serbia: At first the commissioner on 
the ground was Dr. Edward W. Ryan; a subsequent 
commission from America, which departed on August 
2 S? I 9 I 7> was headed by Cordenio A. Severance. 

Commission to Belgium: Commissioner Ernest P. 
BIcknell, appointed January i, 1918. 

Permanent Commission to Italy: Commissioner 
Robert P. Perkins, departed December 5, 1917. 

Commission to Palestine: Commissioner Dr. John 
H. FInley, departed March 3, 1918. 

Commission to Switzerland: Commissioner Benja- 
min Dimmick, departed May 8, 1918. 

In the dispatch of all these missions, quite aside from 
such questions as the selection of personnel and equip- 
ment, it was important to sound out the state of pub- 
lic opinion In the countries to which the missions were 
to be accredited. Would such missions be welcome? 
And what needs, peculiar to each of the several coun- 
tries, must the respective missions be prepared to meet? 
Great discrimination had, naturally, to be exercised 
in the make-up of the commissions; and eager and 
worthy candidates had sometimes to be rejected, though 
the Chairman was generally able, in that inimitable 
way of his, to prevent serious heart-burnings. 

At home, an accomplishment of note was the con- 
solidation of many of the efforts and operations for 
relief that were being carried on by patriotic indi- 
viduals or groups. It had soon become apparent to 
Davison and to all his associates that the relationships 
between the Red Cross and the other War-time, volun- 
tary relief organizations were of great importance. It 


is a bit difficult, after this lapse of time, to recall to 
ourselves the white heat of eagerness to be of service 
which animated the American public in 1917 and 1918. 
The only direct activity for those persons who could 
neither fight nor take a Governmental, or semi-Gov- 
ernmental post, was through these voluntary organiza- 
tions. As pointed out already, it was this eager spirit 
of service which Davison was one of the first to recog- 
nize as a vast motive power behind the effort of the 
Red Cross. The same was true with respect to the 
other organizations, such as the Young Men's Christian 
Association, the Salvation Army, the various Hebrew 
organizations, and the Knights of Columbus. All of 
them were able to raise large sums of money, and all 
of them accomplished excellent results in their respec- 
tive fields. The difficulties in avoiding duplication and 
resulting confusion can well be imagined. They were 
both real and formidable. 

Dr. Frederick P. Keppel was appointed Assistant 
Secretary of War, in charge of this most difficult job 
of harmonizing these various efforts. He did yeoman 
service. As Dr. Keppel testified many times, no one, 
in the whole circle of these various loyal and patriotic 
organizations, was of more actual help in smoothing 
over these difficulties and harmonizing efforts than was 
the Red Cross Chairman. His good-humored inter- 
position, again and again, calmed excited spirits, and 
helped to swing the various efforts into parallel, rather 
than conflicting lines of endeavor. 

There were literally dozens, if not scores, of relief or- 
ganizations, soliciting funds and supplies and sending 
personnel to Europe. Davison was anxious, as already 
indicated, that, to the greatest extent possible, such 
overlapping and duplication should be avoided. He 
was always eager to bring about prompt adjustment of 


any differences or difficulties existing among the vari- 
ous organizations. His attitude toward such other or- 
ganizations may best be illustrated by the following 
incident. A difference arose between Red Cross and 
Y. M. C. A., as to certain work at cantonments, and 
it was proposed to name arbitrators to represent either 
side, in an effort to adjust the matter. The Y. M. C. A. 
named as its arbitrator Dr. George E. Vincent, Presi- 
dent of the Rockefeller Foundation. When Davison 
was asked to name the arbitrator for the Red Cross, he 
responded by saying he had such respect for Dr. Vin- 
cent's high character and sense of fairness that he 
would name no one, but would accept any decision 
which Dr. Vincent reached. 

The first consolidation of relief bodies to be arranged 
was between the American Relief Clearing House, or- 
ganized and directed by that great industrial leader, 
C. A. Coffin, and the Red Cross. Coffin, without hesi- 
tation, gave up, in the interest of harmony and effi- 
ciency, a project very near his heart. 
. Finally, largely through the efforts of Cornelius Bliss 
to whom Davison entrusted this task, there was organ- 
ized the so-called Committee on Co-operation, made 
up of C. A. Coffin, Judge R. S. Lovett and A. G. 
Hodenpyl. The organization of this committee of out- 
standing citizens was a notable accomplishment. Its 
work brought unity of action, and, more often, actual 
consolidation of many War relief committees with the 
Red Cross. 

Frequent occasion for Davison's interposition also 
arose when the Red Cross had to adjust its activities 
with those of the War and Navy Departments, and 
with other departments of the Government as well. 
And in those early days, United States Army officers 


had great skepticism as to the capacities of the Red 
Cross organization. 

Questions of precedence In shipments had to be taken 
up with the Shipping Board, of which Edward Hurley, 
one of the original War Council, was the head, and 
questions relating to supplies with Bernard M. Baruch, 
of the War Industries Board, and his associates. Her- 
bert Hoover, then head of the Food Administration, 
would come to Twin Oaks where, after dinner, again 
around that same fireplace, questions having to do with 
food supplies and kindred subjects were discussed and 
smoothed out. Money matters connected with ex- 
change and foreign payments were arranged with the 
Treasury Department and Mr. McAdoo. And, of 
course, there was constant contact with General Persh- 
Ing and his staff in France, 'and with most of the other 
Important military and naval commanders, not only in 
France, but also in England and in other Allied coun- 

In all of those relations, smooth operation and co- 
operation almost invariably obtained, and in many 
cases they were largely due to the personal effort and 
tact of the Chairman. As time went on, the military 
and naval authorities became more and more impressed 
with the value of the service rendered directly to the 
soldiers and sailors, a service that could be more effec- 
tive because it was untrammeled by the red tape which 
inevitably hampers governmental organizations. 

Without burdening the text with too many exhibits, 
I still wish to quote two dispatches which will show 
what impressions of the Red Cross at work were formed 
by such notable authorities as General Biddle, who was 
in command of the American forces in England, and by 
Admiral Sims, Commander-in-Chief of the American 
naval forces in European waters. Both of these dis- 


patches were sent at a time when the Red Cross work- 
ers at home were eager to learn what their laborers 
afield were accomplishing ; and were, no doubt^ quoted 
to excellent effect when they reached Red Cross Head- 
quarters at Washington. 

General Biddle's message: 

I really do not know what American Army would have done in 
England without Red Cross. Everywhere Red Cross is giving best 
that can be given or asked for. Our men being cared for well as 
they can be and being helped by Red Cross in every way, including 
care at large hospitals in London, Paighton, Salisbury and Mossley 
Hill. At all our camps throughout British Isles it has given us many 
things which we either could not get from Government, or could not 
get without much delay. This work has been so well done that 
nowadays every one applies first to Red Cross whenever they want 
anything very particularly or very quickly. It seems to me that every 
time I leave London to go anywhere, I see something new that Red 
Cross been doing. In Otranto disaster first thing we did was go to 
Red Cross for materials and supplies various kinds, and when we sent 
boat to look after survivors on bleak island Islay, many provisions for 
expedition came from Red Cross. When we sent large number men 
to Northern Russia, short time ago, Red Cross sent I don't know 
how many hundred tons supplies. We in army all feel gratitude to 
Red Cross which it's hard me express in words. Without Red Cross 
would be impossible have given camps comforts, conveniences, happi- 
ness, they've received England. You have our hearty thanks for all 
you've done, are doing, and intend continue do, long's American 
soldier in England. 

Admiral Sims's message: 

I have often heard people say, "Why is it necessary care for sick 
and wounded soldiers, sailors, through an organization like Red 
Cross? Why does not Government take charge of it?" Fact matter 
is Government not capable doing it way Red Cross does. All govern- 
ment activity, particularly this work, is governed by rules and regu- 
lations and an auditor. All these rules, regulations are made with 
view to what is likely to happen, but all needs cannot be foreseen. 
When emergency turns up we sometimes have not facilities, sometimes 
not legal authority to do all we ought to do. Red Cross man is like 


a combination of President United States and Cabinet and both 
Houses. He can make law as quick as you can write check. Emblem 
of Red Cross Is two small pieces of red tape laid neatly across each 
other. But so far as I know this only bit red tape they've got. They 
can do things unhampered by rules, regulations. When our men are 
sick, wounded we need quick action, unhampered and free; that's 
where Red Cross comes to front. Disasters like Otranto show how 
valuable is its work. Some months ago Red Cross came to me and 
asked if they could establish emergency depots on north coast of 
Ireland, with view possibility some such disaster as this. Govern- 
ment could not do it, and seemed pretty evident it ought be done, 
I told them go ahead, and these depots were of greatest value in 
Otranto disaster. Red Cross Is ever present to help in time trouble. 
We have had many crosses to bear during this war but Red Cross 
has been finest and best of them. 

was one War poster that everyone remembers. It had a 
significance especially deep for those unfortunates who 
received that Mother's ministrations on battlefields, in 
hospitals, throughout devastated areas, in prison camps, 
from one end of a harried world to the other ! During 
wars, pestilences, earthquakes, and all the other catas- 
trophies that man's follies or nature's vagaries have 
plunged us Into, that Mother has been present. The 
very mention of her name calls up memory of Florence 
Nightingale, Clara Barton and a host of other devoted 
women, without whom the Red Cross would never have 
been what it is today in the hearts of the American 

In fact, as to the services of the women of the Red 
Cross, Davison himself was never able to express fully 
the appreciation which he felt and acted upon. "With- 
out the women, there could be no Red Cross," was a 
statement that he made again and again. Yet, there 
were reasons why it was not always easy to organize 
the work of the women volunteers. Many of them 
were already experienced in education and affairs, and 


their very experience at times made them cling tena- 
ciously to their own ways of doing things. When a 
woman's heart Is touched by some particular form of 
suffering, her tenacity of purpose will not readily be 
loosened, nor will she willingly compromise on method. 
With such determination existing In the minds of thou- 
sands of eager women. It was a perplexing problem to 
fit these useful personalities Into a vast and growing 
organization where. In order to avoid chaos, standard- 
ized methods had to be applied. Under such condi- 
tions, patience and tact became the chief virtues In life. 
But here Davison's task was lightened, because, In the 
Red Cross, the absence of pride of opinion among the 
noble women leaders who worked with the Chairman 
gradually smoothed out the difficulties until any lack 
of harmony became wholly negligible. 

From the very start of his work, and as soon as he 
began to realize the immense sums of money Involved 
In the War-time plans of the Red Cross, a problem 
which had greatly troubled the Chairman's order- 
loving mind was the setting up of a proper accounting 
system. Accounting systems are always dry and un- 
interesting, though necessary parts of any large under- 
taking where money Is involved. Here was probably 
as complicated a financial situation as one could well 
imagine. The Red Cross was the virtual trustee of 
great sums of money contributed by millions of people, 
the individual contributions ranging from a few cents 
up to $1,000,000. Many of these gifts were restricted 
as to their use. There were over 8,000 bank accounts 
throughout the United States. Appropriations had 
to be made for the various commissions sent abroad, 
involving questions of exchange and the transfer of 
funds. The accounts of thousands of chapters and 
branches had to be consolidated. And in the back- 


ground always stood the necessity for the preparation 
of a clear and understandable report to the War De- 
partment, as required by law. Charles G. DuBois, the 
highly reputed comptroller of the American Telephone 
& Telegraph Company, was loaned by that company, 
at the Chairman's invitation, upon the recommenda- 
tion of Mr. Gibson. Coming to Washington to live, he 
organized his personnel, and achieved a most notable 
contribution to the Red Cross, in an accounting system 
which has never been questioned, the reports of which 
were as clear as crystal and almost as interesting as a 

At the time when Davison was first considering the 
question of directing the Red Cross, some of his friends 
pointed out that, in accepting the post, he must expect 
some misunderstanding of personal motives, and even 
considerable questioning and criticism. But Davison 
never feared criticism. He always welcomed sound 
suggestion, and he usually found a way of disarming 
hostile critics. 

Soon after the first great drive, and as .the fund of 
over $100,000,000 was in process of collection, the 
Chairman was speaking at a crowded Red Cross rally 
in Detroit Just after he had finished his scheduled 
address, a raucous voice called out from the gallery: 

"We want to know what the Morgan firm is doing 
with all these hundreds of millions of dollars it collects 
for the Red Cross!" 

A rather pained hush fell for a moment upon the 
audience. Davison promptly stepped forward to the 
edge of the platform. 

"Do you think that an entirely fair question?" he 
asked mildly. 

"Yes, I do !" came back the truculent reply. 

"Very well," responded Davison, "I will tell you 


this: that the firm's entire connection with this fund 
consisted of a subscription from the partners of one 
million dollars, and a stipulation that not one penny 
of the entire one hundred millions be ever deposited 
with the firm." 

Whereupon the audience expressed its satisfaction 
in no uncertain terms. 

As in the matter of the accounting, so one obstacle 
after another was surmounted. A pressing need for 
office space developed, to house the rapidly increasing 
staff. For this purpose, temporary buildings of the 
familiar War-time type were constructed in the vacant 
space of the block in which Headquarters stood. By 
the time of the Armistice, this whole block was covered 
with these structures, and every nook and cranny was 
occupied, including the altered space in the old brick 
church, already there. 

The task that Davison faced with, perhaps, the great- 
est reluctance, was the public speaking that had to be 
imposed upon him on an extensive scale. In fact, it 
was a part of his work which he had not originally con- 
templated at all. The Chairman was not a finished 
public speaker, for he had had little experience on the 
platform prior to those Red Cross days. At first the 
prospect of a public address caused in him the dismay 
and tremor usual to the beginner. But as there was 
no escaping these ordeals, he faced them with his cus- 
tomary serenity, and in a short time became a most 
effective speaker. One reason for this effectiveness was 
that behind every word he uttered there was an un- 
mistakable earnestness, so deep and convincing as to 
be unquestioned by his audience. Davison had none 
of the arts of the orator. He made no attempt at 
platform guile, but thought only of the story he had 


to tell. And he told it simply and directly. The man's 
sincerity was irresistible, and his message Invariably 
went home. 

Davison, who loved to tell a story on himself, used to 
recount his experience at the first public Red Cross 
meeting held during the War, at which he and others 
were scheduled to speak, Mr. Taft was presiding. 

"I was scared to death," said Davison, "and it was 
as though from another world I heard Mr. Taft say: 
*It gives me great pleasure to introduce to you one of 
our most distinguished citizens, a man who would 
rather face a German battery than an audience. 5 I was 
half-way out of my chair, when Mr. Taft said : 'General 

The Chairman's extensive speaking tours carried him 
from one end of the land to the other, and across the 
seas. One notable audience of large proportions, con- 
taining many distinguished personages, listened to his 
message in the Coliseum at Rome. Here was the boy 
who used to let down the pasture bars for Uncle Mer- 
rlck's cows in the Pennsylvania hills years before, now 
become the central figure in the ancient oval of the 

Directly after the great Red Cross parade, down 
New York's Fifth Avenue in May, 1918, the parade in 
which President Wilson himself marched, there was an 
evening meeting in the Metropolitan Opera House. 
The building was jammed to the uppermost gallery. 
President Wilson and Davison sat beside each other 
on the platform, and each pleaded for the Red Cross in 
his own way. Yet it is fair to say that, in direct appeal 
and effective presentation, the Chairman's talk suffered 
in no way by comparison with the President's address, 
superlative as that was. 

Davison was in great demand, for Red Cross meet- 


Ings were taking place daily, all over the land. Many 
invitations had to be declined, but there was one which 
he accepted joyfully. It came from Troy, Pennsyl- 
vania. Railroad schedules were awkward, and it was 
not easy, from Washington, to reach Troy at seasonable 
hours. As a matter of fact, the Chairman arrived in 
the little town at about three o'clock In the morning, 
in the midst of a tremendous downpour. But on the 
dark and rainswept station platform were the members 
of a committee of his former fellow-townsmen, headed 
by Everett Van Dine. 

"Well, Harry, how are you, old man? Kind of wet, 
isn't It?" A greeting typical of those that almost over- 
whelmed him during the next twelve hours. His 
cousin, Annie Holcomb } stood in the rain on her own 
doorstep to greet him, and, even at three o'clock In the 
morning, there were other neighbors at hand, ready 
with hearty hand-shakes. 

The next day Harry, as, of course, everybody still 
called him, spoke twice, once in the "Opera House" 
and next in the church. There were numerous formal 
and informal receptions. Through it all, however, 
there was no touch of condescension on his part nor 
undue respect on the part of his old neighbors, but only 
simple neighborliness. The whole visit was an expe- 
rience that the Chairman treasured with that depth 
of sentiment and heartfelt warmth which were so 
peculiarly his. 

Back again the next day, around the fire at Twin 
Oaks, his friends laughed at his description of how Van 
Dine had introduced him in the Troy "Opera House," 
as "the next President of the United States." Harry 
chuckled at this, as he told the tale, though at the same 
time half annoyed. President of the United States? 
Many persons, other than Van Dine, had made the 


same suggestion. But Davlson had no illusions : in his 
own mind, he knew that it could never be. 

It is not surprising that among the thousands of de- 
voted workers in the Red Cross, who realized the nature 
of the work that Davison was doing, there were hun- 
dreds who frequently expressed the thought that he 
might be drafted into even broader fields of endeavor. 
Those were the days, in the last eighteen months of 
the War, when public opinion in America was still 
fluid. Neither here nor in Europe had the almost 
complete disillusionment of the post-War period even 
begun. Men were longing for peace-time leaders who, 
with every regard for America's domestic interests, 
would yet realize that for her own sake and that of a 
war-wracked world, policies of toleration and appease- 
ment even at the apparent cost of large temporary 
sacrifice should be undertaken. It was small wonder, 
then, that many of the Red Cross people felt that 
Davison had, through the power of his mind and heart, 
shown himself to be of the character and stuff of which 
such leaders are made. 

By the end of 1917, the machinery of the great or- 
ganization was fairly on the way to smooth and effi- 
cient operation. The great initial drive for funds had 
succeeded beyond the fondest hopes. Progress was 
steady at all points. The executive direction of affairs 
could safely be left in the hands of the Chairman's 
associates in the War Council. With the way thus made 
clear, he decided rather suddenly that he should visit 
some of the scenes of foreign Red Cross labor. By 
this time, the daily sheaf of cable messages from the 
various commissions abroad had grown to impressive 
proportions. All sorts of problems were presented by 


them. The variety of articles and the requisitions for 
Immediate shipment were legion. Personnel of various 
kinds In ever increasing numbers was desperately called 
for. Questions of Important policy, which could not 
be adequately understood by the interchange of cables, 
called for consideration on the spot So, on a dark 
night. In the early days of 1918, by arrangement with 
the Navy Department, Davison slipped away on the 
4C Leviathan" with thousands of soldiers, his departure, 
like that of the others, being shrouded In mystery until 
he landed on French soil. 

The reception accorded to the Chairman of the 
American Red Cross was, naturally, warm and enthusi- 
astic. On this first official trip to the other side, he 
visited all of the Important points of American Red 
Cross activities In France, Belgium, Italy and England. 
In each of these countries, he was received by the lead- 
ing men in the governments and by the commanding 
officers of the Allied armies. He had interesting audi- 
ences, too, with the King of England and the King of 

The whole trip was not only of absorbing interest, 
but of great value to the Chairman of the War Council 
in adjusting his perspective of the work that had been 
done and that remained to be done on a great scale. 
He was able at first hand to gain those vivid impres- 
sions that meant so much to him, and to the organiza- 
tion behind him, in sizing up the existing situations in 
the Allied countries and in coping with them. This 
was in the late winter and early spring of 1918. And 
it will be remembered that it was this spring which 
witnessed the greatest of all the German drives; and 
that it was not until late July that the Allies seemed 
to be definitely relieved from imminent disaster. Davi- 


son, fiimself, was under fire upon several occasions, in 
the course of visits to the front. 

Davison's visit to Buckingham Palace is described 
largely from his sister Mary's recollection of his enter- 
taining recital of it. 

When Harry arrived in England, he was told that 
the King wished to see him on the following Friday, at 
eleven o'clock. As usual, his secretary made a note of 
the engagement, and Harry settled down to his work. 
When Friday morning arrived, Harry worked up to 
the moment when the functionary who was to accom- 
pany him to the Palace arrived. They started in a 
motor, and Harry suddenly thought, "Why, I am going 
to visit the King of England 1" 

He turned to the equerry and said : "I am not in the 
habit of going to Buckingham Palace and I suppose 
there is a certain amount of etiquette in connection 
with such a visit Tell me briefly what I ought to do 
or ought not to do," 

The equerry replied: "You should not cross your 
legs. You should not start to shake hands until the 
King puts out his hand. You should not leave until 
the King dismisses you." 

"Well," remarked Harry, "I will do the best I can, 
and I hope I shan't disgrace myself." 

When he reached Buckingham Palace, he found 
King George very simple and very much alive to the 
situation in America. He was surprised at the under- 
standing which the King showed in his questions. The 
King was particularly interested in the details of the 
coal strike that was being waged in America just then. 
He also wanted to know how a Red Cross drive was 
conducted and how such a large sum of money could 
be raised. 

(Central figure) 


Suddenly, Harry saw that an hour had passed and 
recalled that he had another engagement In ten min- 
utes. He said to himself: "Was I to go, or was the 
King to dismiss me?" He could not remember which 
it was; so he arose and said to His Majesty that he 
realized how occupied his time was, and so on. 

The King remarked : "You are dining with my son, 
the Prince of Wales, tomorrow night I wish you 
would tell him the things you have told me; he will 
be profoundly Interested. 55 

And so Harry took his departure. Once outside, he 
said to the equerry, "Was I to make the move to go, 
or was the King to dismiss me? )5 

"The latter, sir, 55 replied the equerry. 

"I remember now, 55 Harry said. "We did not do 
It that way, and I do not know how many other mis- 
takes I made, but His Majesty is a very Interesting 
person, and I think we understood each other. 55 

Davison's call on the King of Italy, when he arrived 
In Rome a few weeks later, may also be described In 
the style of his recital : 

Not long after his arrival, he was told that the King 
wished to see him. He remarked that once this might 
have bothered him, but he had learned that kings are 
men just like the rest of us when a war is on. 

The King 5 s whereabouts was kept secret no one 
knew where he was living. Harry was taken in a motor 
into the country, and finally arrived at a delightful, 
simple country place. The front door was open, and 
he noticed someone standing inside. He held out his 
coat and hat. The man made a gesture indicating a 
bench where he could lay them. Harry found after- 
wards that this was the Minister of War. 

He passed into a very homelike room, and he was 
struck by the beauty of a picture on the wall. As he 


was gazing at it, a man came in. Harry told him how 
much he admired the picture, and this person replied 
that he, too, liked it very much. He asked Harry to 
sit down, and they began talking of things in general. 
Suddenly, Harry said to himself: "Why, this is the 
King! And I suppose I have been crossing my legs and 
holding out my hand. But it does not matter." 

The Chairman found the simplicity and sincerity of 
the reception given him all through Italy very touch- 
ing. All the people he met seemed to know just what 
they wanted to say and how to say it. A private train 
was put at his disposal. He felt that this attention was 
unnecessary and would serve to increase the country's 
general difficulties in transportation. But the officials 
insisted upon carrying out the idea just because the 
travel was so difficult, and Harry realized later that, 
without the train, it would have been practically im- 
possible for him to make the journey which he was 
obliged to make. 

At each place where Harry stopped, there was a 
demonstration in his honor which never failed to touch 
him deeply. In Rome he was asked to go to the Italian 
Red Cross Headquarters, at the Hotel Excelsior. There 
he was met by a delightful woman of noble birth. She 
showed him the work they were doing, and after the 
tour was finished, she opened the door of another room 
which was filled with little children. 

The Chairman said, afterwards, in recalling the 
scene: "I do not think one more child could have been 
put in that room. They stood up when I appeared, and 
each one was holding a tiny American flag. This was 
too much for me. I could not go in the room. I was 
very much overcome, and begged to be excused. I was 
not able to speak to the children. I could not bear it." 

Later, when the Chairman went to Bologna, he 


asked, because he was greatly fatigued, that the sched- 
uled time of his arrival should be announced an hour 
later than it really was, because the arrival of the train 
always meant a reception. But when the train rolled 
In, and Davlson stepped down from It, he found the 
platform already crowded with crippled soldiers. He 
stepped back to make room for them, and then realized 
that they were moving back to make room for him, 
These broken and crippled men had been waiting since 
early morning to receive the representative of the 
American Red Cross. They were showing this grati- 
tude and affection, as the Chairman deeply felt, not 
as a demonstration towards him as an Individual, but 
for the work which the American Red Cross, and all 
Its workers under him, had done In order to bring aid 
to these people. 

The French High Command and the leading Gov- 
ernment officials showed their gratitude to Davlson 
when he arrived in Paris, for the action taken a few 
months earlier under his authorization, by which direct 
aid on a large scale had been granted to the French 
soldiers under Marshal Petain's command. The rea- 
sons for this unusual action, and the extent of the relief 
granted, have already been explained in these pages. 
Six years afterwards, and two years after Davison's 
death, Marshal Petain requested that he be permitted 
to express his gratitude for what the American Red 
Cross, and especially its Chairman, had done to pre- 
serve the morale of his soldiers in the dark days of 1917. 
His singularly noteworthy memorandum, which Is 
dated June 12, 1924, recalls his first meeting with Davi- 
son at his headquarters in Nettancourt in September 
1916. This was, of course, before Davlson undertook 
the Red Cross work. 


The Marshal's note written In French may be ren- 
dered in English as follows : 

The French are well aware of the valuable services 
rendered to their ambulance trains and wounded by 
the American Red Cross during the War. The Amer- 
ican Red Cross has received the unstinted praise of 
all those who saw it at work either at the front or on 
the lines of communication. What is not sufficiently 
known is the peculiar role which was assigned to it 
during the period which saw the serious decline in 
the morale of the French troops in 1917. 

Through his [Mr. Davison's] great zeal and un- 
limited devotion, he succeeded in obtaining in 
America considerable sums destined to aid the 
troops of the Allied armies and their families. Not 
content with the material aid which numerous units 
of the Red Cross gave to combatants, Mr. Davison 
wished American friendship to make itself felt in 
those homes where the prolonged absence of a hus- 
band or of a son caused the growth of a certain lassi- 
tude, prelude to discouragement. 

Convinced by his visit to France of the necessity 
of combating with energy this growing danger, Mr. 
Davison forthwith placed important sums at my dis- 
posal. Help to the families mentioned above was 
given as follows : 

Every division furnished G.H.Q. with a list of 
the families which had most suffered through the 
prolonged absence or death of its head. The Com- 
mander-in-Chief then brought to the attention of the 
American Red Cross those most worthy of aid and 
suggested the sums which might be placed at their 
disposal; such sums were then sent directly to the 
persons designated by the American Red Cross. This 


system had the advantage of making known to the 
families helped and to their men folks the origin of 
the generous assistance which was being given them, 
and the fact that the high command had helped in 
securing them this aid. 

The result of this charitable work was not long 
In making itself felt at the front. The soldiers, freed 
from material worries concerning their dependents, 
forgot that they had doubted ultimate victory; the 
wave of discouragement was replaced by a great feel- 
Ing of gratitude towards our American friends. Un- 
til the end of the War, the giving of help to the 
families of combatants In need was on an Increasingly 
generous scale. 

By the time of the Armistice, Mr. Davison had 
accomplished the task he had set himself. He had 
accepted the heavy responsibility of presiding over 
the Immense organization which the Red Cross was 
at that time, with the firm conviction that In so doing 
he was contributing to the final triumph of the Allies. 
His action was worthy of his ideal, and his success 
confirmed his faith. 

The recovery of morale in 1917, which permitted 
us to hold the enemy until the entry into the line of 
the American reserves, was in great part facilitated 
by the charitable action of the American Red Cross 
under the powerful impulsion of its President 

It would be true to say that, under the enlightened 
direction of Mr. Davison, American generosity was 
preparing the way for victory even before the entry 
of American troops into the line. 

In thus lightening my task, the American Red 
Cross and its President have earned an unforgettable 
right to my gratitude. All my memories of the War 
have associated with them in my mind some indi- 


vidual act of charity which was the result of this 
truly great mobilization of charity. 

I am happy to give homage to the memory of the 
inspirer and director of this charitable work, Mr. 

It will be recalled that the granting of this special 
relief fund, handled by Marshal Petain, had been urged 
as a necessary step, by General Pershing himself. One 
day soon after the Chairman's arrival in Paris, he was 
sitting in the Red Cross office there when suddenly he 
became aware of someone standing in the doorway. It 
was General Pershing, in full uniform. 

"Why, hello, General, when did you come over?" 
queried Davison without a smile. 

The General came forward, held out his hand, 
laughed and said : "I have asked ten thousand men in 
France that question, but you are the first one who has 
ever asked it of me." 

Back at the Headquarters in Washington, it had been 
evident for some time to the officials in active charge 
that the Red Cross must have another drive for funds. 
The demands upon the war chest by our own soldiers 
in France had greatly increased, as their numbers rap- 
idly swelled, following the great German offensives. By 
means of cable messages, exchanged between the Chair- 
man and his associates in Washington, it was decided 
that a second drive for $100,000,000 should be launched 
in May. So Davison returned to America, bringing 
with him from his experiences in the war-area a new 
enthusiasm and determination which he immediately 
threw into the campaign, together with all the direct 
weight and influence of his personality. 

It was an eager band of his associates on the War 
Council that assembled in the library at Twin Oaks to 


hear Davlson's Impressions and first-hand descriptions 
of the Red Cross work at the front. He told them with 
intense enthusiasm of the wonderful work that was 
being done, and of the tremendous job ahead. Our own 
soldiers were arriving In France In greater and greater 
mimberSj and It was always the Chairman's first thought 
that the Red Cross had been commissioned by the 
American people to minister to their soldiers and sailors 
above and beyond all else. Davison made It clear that 
not only must the impending drive for funds be a 
greater effort than the first one, but that added efficiency 
in administration must be attained In all parts of the 
organization. He and all his associates realized that 
to attain once again a goal of $100,000,000 might be 
much more difficult of accomplishment than was the 
previous drive. This was because, in the intervening 
months, the American people as a whole had had to 
reach to the bottoms of their pockets in order to bring 
forth the stupendous sums which had been raised In the 
several Liberty Loan drives. 

There was now, however, little doubt throughout the 
organization as to the success of the Second Drive. It 
is not surprising that, even then, people were talking 
of the good fortune which had come to the Red Cross 
in having at its head at such a time a man who could 
interpret his country In the terms of its aroused gener- 
osity and devotion. The whole plan was unfolding as 
Davison had anticipated in the preceding spring. He 
had foreseen, and had constantly kept before his asso- 
ciates, the fact that here were millions and millions of 
American men and women who could not go to the 
front nor In fact do anything to aid in the War unless 
that vast reservoir of feeling and desire to serve was 
directed into practical channels; but that if the objec- 
tives were provided and the means by which to reach 


them set up, there was no limit to which the American 
people would not go in their giving, in their self-sacri- 
fice and in their work. 

The days passed swiftly on to the Second Red Cross 
War Fund Drive which took place, again by proclama- 
tion of President Wilson, during the week of May 
20-27, 1918, this time ably headed by William C. Breed, 
the New York lawyer. It came right in the midst of 
the startling, early success of the great military opera- 
tions of the Germans in the spring of 1918, and no 
doubt the public was stimulated to its utmost by the 
ominous news and the thought that its soldiers were in 
the thick of the struggle. The result of the Sec- 
ond Drive was a subscription of approximately 
$ 1 70,000, ooo! 

Among the many pictures of Harry Davison in the 
midst of his work at Washington that come back to his 
old associates, there is one that they recall most fre- 
quently. It is that of the Chairman each morning in 
the midst of the cable dispatches from the various 
headquarters across the seas. There were dozens of 
those cables from all over the world each day, and 
every one of them was read faithfully, word for word, 
by the Chairman. They disclosed not only the urgent 
needs for supplies and personnel in France for the 
service with the American armed forces, but unfolded 
a variety of stirring pictures: of refugees, the Czech 
soldiers in Vladivostok, our own infantry and com- 
mission at Murmansk in the polar seas, Henry Ander- 
son struggling to get supplies through to fevered 
Roumania, Allen Wardwell laboring for some measure 
of relief to the sick and starving children in Moscow ; 
and page after page of queries from anxious families 
for knowledge of sons who had disappeared on the bat- 


tlefields In France, or for word through Switzerland of 
those who might be languishing In German prison 

To many urgent inquiries had to be given the In- 
evitable answers which stilled forever those anxious 
hopes. Among the messages came a cable from Davi- 
son's partner, Stettinius, in France, warning him to 
prepare another partner, William Porter, for sad news 
news which confirmed the death on the battlefield of 
his only son, James J. Porter, There was no day but 
had its threat, for Davison also had a son, Harry, 
serving as aviator at the battle-front in France. 

Once again the Chairman sailed for Europe and the 
Front. It was In the summer of 1918. This time he 
was able to see his son, Harry, stationed with a naval 
unit at Dunkirk. But his days were filled with business 
of the most varied sort. He must still continue to 
maintain his contacts with the leading statesmen of the 
Allied Governments ; he must be fully informed as to 
the progress of the many Red Cross missions and their 
work In the foreign fields ; he must review again with 
the heads of the American Red Cross contingent In 
France their immense and growing activities. 

He returned again to his post at Washington, but 
the autumn found him back in the forefront of the 
work In France. These were the closing weeks of the 
War. The Allied commanders were beginning to 
realize that the presence of the American forces on the 
battle fields and, by the hundreds of thousands more 
in the training camps ready and equipped to enter the 
trenches, was the factor that was to clinch the impend- 
ing military victory. And the Germans and their 
already broken allies were making what they knew 
to be their, last stand. Their tide had been at flood in 


spring and early summer. Now It was on the ebb and 
running out swiftly never to return. 

The weeks sped by, and when finally the news of 
the Armistice was flashed around the world, it found 
Davison still in France. Overnight, the picture had 
abruptly changed. The great Red Cross organization, 
running at full speed and growing more and more 
effective, must promptly readjust its operation to peace 
time. Therefore, late in November, Davison returned 
to Washington to direct the post-Armistice activities 
of the Red Cross. It required no little skill to conduct 
the deflation of that great organization. All deflations 
are difficult, and here was much to be done that lacked 
the stimulus of news from the battlefield. As the Red 
Cross followed its soldiers and sailors wherever they 
went, it must now follow them on their long-delayed 
return homeward. Succor for the wretched refugees 
and released prisoners could not be suddenly aban- 
doned. Indeed, in many instances their misery had 
been aggravated. 

The Chairman realized the importance of these mat- 
ters, but after a few weeks of working with them, he 
was quite content to leave the major direction in the 
hands of his associates, for his own active brain had, 
as usual, gone on ahead. The idea which had been 
revolving in his mind, and which he projected into long 
and earnest discussions at Twin Oaks, finally was con- 
firmed in the conviction that steps should be taken for 
the organization of a world-wide league of Red Cross 
Societies. Davison was a very tired man at that time, 
and his associates were doubtful, for no other reason 
than his own health, whether he should undertake to 
put through this post- War project. He was not to be 
shaken, however. The way he put it was about like 
this : 


"The American Red Cross has shown the way dur- 
ing this war ? whereby peoples may be of great help to 
their unfortunate fellow-men in time of catastrophe. 
The good will and sympathy engendered by the Red 
Cross spirit must not be lost. While the Governments 
are arranging a political peace, let the Red Cross Socie- 
ties of the world come together in a union and add the 
weight of that spirit to the reconciliations which should 
succeed this war." 

First, in carrying out this new and final programme, 
Davison enlisted the ready sympathy and cooperation 
of President Wilson to whose mind the idea appealed 
instantly. He promptly armed Davison with the fol- 
lowing letter of strong support : 

January 7, 1919 
Dear Mr. Davison: 

It Is with distinct pleasure and satisfaction that I learn of your 
plans for the further development of the work of the Red Cross. 
While at this time they must of necessity be somewhat indefinite, yet 
the general outline meets with my cordial and hearty approval, not 
only as President of the American Red Cross, but as President of the 
United States. As the Geneva Convention, the basis of the present 
Red Cross organization, was born of war and for service in time of 
war, what is more fitting than that at this time there should be a 
re-birth of that convention born of peace and for service in time of 
peace ? 

This war has taught many lessons, some of them not yet appre- 
ciated, but the great outstanding lesson is that of the obligation of 
man, no matter of what nationality, to his fellow-men throughout 
the world. It seems to me, therefore, that nothing could be more 
appropriate than that at the earliest moment there should be held a 
meeting of the Red Cross organizations of the world excepting those 
of the Central Powers, who could be given an opportunity to partici- 
pate after peace shall have been declared to consider, develop and 
adopt plans which should result in relieving the suffering and pro- 
moting the betterment of the peoples of the earth. I know of nothing 
more in harmony with the spirit of the time 1 and more important to 
the future than unification in common effort for the welfare of all 


mankind. Acting under the broad provisions of our charter the 
experience of our American Red Cross has clearly demonstrated dur- 
ing the war that incalculable good could be accomplished by organized 
voluntary endeavor not alone in war but in peace. 

I feel with you that it is not only our opportunity but our obliga- 
tion to place our experience and the results of our efforts at the 
disposal of the other Red Cross organizations of the world, and I 
am confident that they also are in a position to make contributions 
of experience and constructive helpfulness to us and to each other. 
I share your belief that out of such a conference as is proposed an 
international relief organization would be developed which must con- 
tribute to the welfare of mankind throughout the world. I am 
sure, therefore, that our friends, the distinguished gentlemen having 
responsibility for the conduct of the International Red Cross, will 
avail of the opportunity themselves which your plan affords, to sum- 
mon a conclave which should prove inspiring and result in benefits 
to the world. 

In your undertaking I wish you would feel that the various depart- 
ments of our Government will cooperate with you, should occasion 
arise and that if there is anything I can do to assist, I shall regard 
it as a privilege. 

Very truly yours, 


Simultaneously Colonel House, who from the start 
had been greatly impressed with the Davison manage- 
ment of the Red Cross, volunteered to bring the sub- 
ject to the urgent attention of David Lloyd George. 
His letter to the British Prime Minister, written at 
about the same time, follows : 

My dear Mr. Lloyd George: 

President Wilson has asked me on his behalf to bring to your 
attention a matter which the President regards as of very great 
importance. It concerns a suggestion by Mr. Henry P. Davison, 
Chairman of the War Council of the American Red Cross, for 
enlarging the scope of the International Red Cross to include peace 
time activities. 

As you know, the Geneva Convention, under which the Red Cross 
organizations operate, was based upon service in time of war. It so 
happens that the charter granted by the Congress of the United States 


to the American Red Cross was broader than the Geneva Convention* 
making provision for it "to carry on a system of national and inter- 
national relief in time of peace, and to apply the in mitigating 
the sufferings caused by pestilence^ f amine, fire* floods, and other great 
national calamities, and to devise and carry on measures for prevent- 
ing the same." 

Under this charter the American Red Cross has demonstrated the 
possibility of doing a very large voluntary relief work for suffering 
humanity? and, as I am informed, other national Red Cross societies 
have already enlarged their normal scope of operation. 

Mr. Davison submits that in view of present conditions throughout 
the world, and in view of the hope that future wars can be averted , 
there should be a revision of the Geneva Convention to include Red 
Cross activities in time of peace. He therefore suggests that in 
cooperation, the respective representatives of the Red Cross organiza- 
tion of England, France, Italy, Japan and America should jointly 
request the International Red Cross at Geneva to call a conference 
of the Red Cross organizations of the world, excepting those of the 
Central Powers, which would be invited to participate after peace, 
for the purpose of adopting a revised convention. 

He expresses the belief that under the International Red Cross, 
with enlarged scope, the Red Cross organizations of the various 
countries and there should be one in every country would stimulate 
and develop activities in their respective countries for the betterment 
of mankind. 

Such endeavors should include not alone provision for help in 
case of great disasters, but for medical research and also for such 
activities as the promotion of public health and sanitation, the welfare 
of children and mothers, the education and training of nurses, the 
care and prevention of personal injuries in civil life, the care and 
prevention of tuberculosis and other chronic diseases, as well as other 
activities which would tend to the continuous relief and prevention 
of very real and daily tragedies in the homes of peoples throughout 
the world. 

It is not contemplated that the Red Cross will itself, within its 
respective country, engage in all of these activities but rather that 
they should encourage and develop proper agencies to do so. 

Both President Wilson and I feel that there are great possibilities 
in this movement; that it is in harmony with the spirit of the day and 
that it will be welcomed by the peoples of the world as obviously its 
only motive and purpose can be in their common interest. 


Not the least of the advantages to be derived from such a move- 
ment should be the realization, on the part of the peoples of many 
countries, of their obligations to their fellowmen. 

Although the Red Cross is not strictly a governmental agency but 
rather a voluntary organization, it is clear that a moral endorsement 
on the part of the more important governments is essential to insure 
the fullest possibilities of the plan. It is the President's hope that you 
may find yourself in accord with the suggestion and that you will 
therefore delegate someone to communicate with the representatives 
of your Red Cross organization, expressing to them your desire that 
they cordially cooperate in the movement. The success of the con- 
ference would seem assured if it can be made clear that the movement 
has at the outset the unqualified approval and support of the govern- 
ments named. 


With this preliminary, Davison posted off to Europe 
again and conducted meetings of Red Cross representa- 
tives in Paris, Cannes and Geneva. Here is an extract 
from a personal letter written by Davison, dated at 
Cannes, France, January 21, 1919. In it he alludes to 
the Wilson and House letters and then goes on to ex- 
plain his own conception of the plan : 

It seems rather strange to find ourselves here with the prospect of 
remaining for three or four months, but if our program works out 
we should have a most satisfactory time. I am sure you will be inter- 
ested to get a word from me giving you some rather definite idea of 
what I am here for. Perhaps the enclosed copy of a letter from 
President Wilson to me and letter from Colonel House to Lloyd 
George will give you a general idea. 

When the armistice was signed, I realized that our emergency 
work was about over and that by March ist the War Council could 
turn over to the regular Red Cross organization its accounting and 
the further work to be done. To that end, we have endeavored to 
strengthen the organization at home, having secured Dr. Livingston 
Farrand, President of the University of Colorado, as the Chief Execu- 
tive. Some of us will remain upon the Executive Committee, but the 
general administration will be under his direction. Under those 
conditions, normally I should have returned to the office on March 
ist, but I felt there was still one step which should be taken, or at 



least which should be attempted before giving up the work, and that 
was to get together the Red Cross organizations of the world to adopt 
what might be called a peace program. 

The demonstration of the American Red Cross has proved beyond 
question the great value of an efficient voluntary organization. It 
seemed to me if we could get the Red Cross organization of the five 
powers together to develop the International Red Cross and through 
it the respective Red Cross organizations of the world, that it would 
be of incalculable good to mankind. It is not my idea that the 
various Red Cross organizations should carry on the work themselves, 
but rather that they should stimulate and encourage natural agencies 
to do so. 

The present plan is to have a conference here of the five organiza- 
tions on February ist, with the idea of issuing a call to the Red Cross 
organizations of all the countries in the world, except the Central 
Powers, at a later date, possibly in May, and after peace is declared 
to invite the Central Powers. 

Of course in an undertaking of this kind there are many difficul- 
ties, but with proper cooperation I can see no reason why the plan 
should not be successful. I am not proposing to assume the responsi- 
bility of its success and am making clear to the International people 
that I wish to contribute the thought and such benefits from our own 
work as may be of value. 

The other organizations with whom I have conferred are in cordial 
sympathy and pledge themselves to cooperate completely. The die 
is not yet definitely cast and will not be until we can go to Geneva 
to confer there. If at that conference a call is determined upon it 
will keep us over here until the first of June. 

There followed an immense amount of further con- 
ference, official and individual. And out of it all, in 
the face of critical post- War arguments and jealousies, 
the latter due in large part to the strain of the War 
itself, Davison was able to weld together the League 
of Red Cross Societies. With the approval and aid of 
President Wilson, there was written into Article XXV 
of the Versailles Treaty the following: 

The members of the League agree to encourage and promote the 
establishment and cooperation of duly authorized, voluntary, national 
Red Cross organizations having as their purpose the improvement of 


health, prevention of disease, and mitigation of suffering throughout 

the world. 

With this important project accomplished, Harry 
Davison could well feel as certainly his associates and 
the appreciative public felt that he had fought the 
good fight, he had kept the faith. 

He was badly worn down by the constant strain of 
years of administration, of travelling, of public speak- 
ing; oppressed with personal anxieties in the accident 
to his elder son and the constant peril to which, for 
months at the front, his second son had been subjected. 
Even then, too, he had begun to suffer from the severe 
headaches which marked the beginnings of his fatal 

Yet, though endeavoring to gain some of the rest 
which his family and friends were beseeching him to 
secure, his mind was still occupied with the wind-up of 
the War-time Red Cross. He was particularly inter- 
ested in the preparation of his final report as Chairman 
of the War Council. Under the structure of its charter 
the American Red Cross is immediately responsible to 
the Secretary of War, and it was in comment upon 
this final report that Secretary Newton D. Baker, who 

* It was not for Harry Davison ever to know how great a fire of beneficence 
he was kindling in this organization of the League of Red Cross Societies 
which he carried through. The following extract from the 1929 annual report 
of the National Red Cross gives some idea of the progress that has been made : 

"Its influence has been immeasurable in inspiring the general expansion of 
the Red Cross movement everywhere. Originally launched upon a program 
which experience proved to be too idealistic for the time and circumstances, 
the League has successfully adapted itself to its field of opportunity and has 
given the Red Cross of the world a leadership of very great value. 

"In the past decade the number of Red Cross Societies has increased to sub- 
stantially twice the number in existence in 1919. Solidarity of interest among 
Red Cross Societies and enhanced usefulness naturally encourage the founda- 
tion of new Societies in countries which have not heretofore been greatly 
interested in the Red Cross world movement. Today it is hardly an exagger- 
ation to state that the whole world is enveloped in a Red Cross network so 
interlaced and interrelated that no country lies outside its reach or influence." 


knew the Red Cross thoroughly and who was always 
appreciative and helpful, wrote to Davlson late in the 
year 3 as follows : 



October 28, 1919 
My dear Mr. Damson: 

There is no greater romance in history than that told by the 
pamphlet just issued, showing the work of the American Red Cross 
during the war. The report itself is characterized by a restraint that 
after all serves only to emphasize the impressive narrative of facts, 
and one's imagination must supply the stories of personal enthusiasm, 
sacrifice and labor which went to mate up this great tale. Your own 
part in it all was commanding and indispensable, and I am writing 
this to tender you and your associates my deep and grateful appreci- 
ation of the work. America literally mothered the weak and helpless 
of the world through the Red Cross, and every citizen of America 
can have a generous emotion of world citizenship in the best sense 
when he realizes that you represented us all in doing this splendid 

Cordially yours, 


This, then, Is the story of Harry Davlson In the 
American Red Cross : a story not easy to tell consecu- 
tively and clearly, by reason of the fact that the work 
Itself had to be carried out under such pressure and 
Interruption. It is simply a picture of twenty-two 
crowded months in an always eager, crowded life. 
Davison, as it so happened, was in war time the Initi- 
ator, the director, the bearer of chief responsibility in 
showing to his fellow countrymen the way of mercy 
and effective help. In terms of figures, it took that 
public some time to realize the extent of ground that 
had been covered. When the facts finally came to 
them, they were filled with wonder. 


In money and material, there had been given over 
$400^000,000. Red Cross membership had leaped to 
over 31,000,000. The organization had enlisted as 
workers 8,100,000; had produced some 370,000,000 of 
relief articles; aided over 500,000 families of soldiers 
and sailors; enrolled over 23,000 nurses; shipped over- 
seas and distributed over 100,000 tons of relief supplies ; 
operated in twenty-five foreign countries ; ministered to 
hundreds of thousands of American soldiers and sailors, 
together with numberless refugees and prisoners. 

Statistics would fill volumes, in fact, have filled them 
in reports filed by the Chairman. They can be but 
indications of the vastness of that outpouring, of which 
he was from the very first the confident prophet and 
the chief moving force. 

It would be invidious and unjustifiable, even for 
those who loved him because they knew him intimately 
and saw him in daily action, to attribute to Davison 
personally or to any other person or group sole or 
dominant credit for either the integrity or the efficiency 
with which the vast organization of American Red 
Cross carried on, at home and abroad, the work so cur- 
sorily summarized above. He would be the last to 
desire it. He would be the first to acknowledge, to 
rejoice, that thousands of devoted men and women 
and young people too from top to bottom, at Head- 
quarters in Washington and elsewhere, even to the 
humblest hamlets in every corner of the land and in 
the far-flung outposts across the sea, gave, as he did 
himself, their best to the service. Nevertheless, it is 
not too much to say that from the heart and brain of 
Harry Davison flowed an inspiration and a power of 
trained intelligence, individual, far-reaching, infec- 
tious ; that what the American Red Cross became, what 
it accomplished in the Great War and what it has been 


doing since, are all profoundly impressed with his per- 
sonality; that it Is richer and stronger for what he con- 
tributed as Its leader during what was the most thrill- 
ing and momentous period of modern history, as It was 
the most absorbing and dramatic period of his own life. 
Certainly, Davison's Red Cross work provides an 
Instance where the good that he did lives after him. 
Seeds were sown that have grown, flourished, and year 
by year have waxed Into greater and more extensive 
enterprise for relief and help throughout the world. If 
there be immortality In this world as well as In another, 
It could hardly take form more wonderful than to have 
the work which one does in this life become enshrined 
In the hearts and minds of thousands throughout the 
length and breadth of the land. 


HARRY DAVISON'S partners were to him not merely 
partners ; they were intimate friends. He never 
could work day by day in close contact with other men 
without commanding their love. His own capacity for 
affection was so great that he was impelled to lavish 
it not only upon his immediate family, but upon that 
wide circle of friends of which mention has more than 
once been made. Towards them, he was ever filled 
with generous impulse which found expression, among 
other ways, in almost constant giving. He was never 
patronizing, but he was always keen to find out what 
particular desire any one of his friends might have, and 
then in his own way to fulfill that desire. No one ever 
took more of a childlike delight than he in giving or 
receiving a present, be the token small or large. And 
all his associates of the Morgan firm he regarded as 
knights of a round table with Mr. Morgan at their 

In fact, from almost the first day that Davison en- 
tered the Morgan house he was on terms of comrade- 
ship, sometimes almost intimacy, with the Senior. 
Those princely traits of the elder Mr. Morgan, that 
magnificent style of his, called up something in Davi- 
son that, in his own way, was akin to it. The elder's 
habit of swift, incisive thought so amply inherited by 
his son, who joined to it, perhaps, a more sober judg- 
ment made answering appeal in Davison. That brief 
glance over people and affairs that swept within its ken 



so much of man's motive, his feeling and achievement; 
that ready estimate of all visible factors in a situation, 
captivated the younger partner. Their minds were in 
harmony. Thus, if a matter arose upon which he 
wanted the elder's judgment, Davison would quickly 
find his way into the mediaeval recesses of the Morgan 
Library, come upon the Senior sunk in the depths of a 
huge red chair, and proceed to gain the judgment that 
he had come to get Or if Mr. Morgan were abroad 
and the question much too complex for the cables, 
Davison would in the same way jump on the steamer 
and get his answer at Aix, or London, or wherever. 
The complete integrity of Mr. Morgan's thought, its 
sweep and daring, made Davison seek frequent contacts 
with it. In that way he gained far more of the elder 
man's mind and intent than most of the other partners 
of about his own age. 

J. P. Morgan, Jr., who on the death of his father in 
March, 1913, succeeded him as the head of the house, 
and Davison were within a few months of each other 
in age. The younger Mr. Morgan had taken great 
satisfaction in the confidence which his father had be- 
stowed on Davison; and when his turn came he gave 
him his own trust and confidence in equal measure. 
He did not for a moment attempt to match Davison's 
almost restless activity in affairs, but he consulted him 
in every matter of importance at the first moment that 
opportunity offered. During those crowded and threat- 
ening years, from the outbreak of the Great War in 
August of 1914 until the spring of 1917, at which time 
Davison closed his desk in order to take charge of the 
American Red Cross, Mr. Morgan encouraged and 
backed him to the full in all his constructive activities. 
If Mr. Morgan had been the ruler of a state, Davison 
would have been his prime minister. 


This intimate relationship between Davison and all 
his partners was so vital a thing in our lives that our 
final realization, in 1921, that Harry was a seriously ill 
man was, to Mr. Morgan and to all the others, as 
though the bottom had begun to drop out of things. 
All through the War years, Davison had been under a 
serious and continuing strain. The chapters in this 
volume covering those hectic years have, perhaps, given 
some glimpse of his arduous endeavors, even though at 
the time he kept in excellent trim and, with his buoy- 
ant nature, made rather light of his cares. But, in 
late June, 1920, which was the time when I returned 
from a long trip to Japan and China, I found him, to 
my dismay, distinctly under the weather. He was 
seriously affected with headaches. He said that the 
doctors analyzed his trouble as neurasthenia, the not 
unnatural effect of his almost superhuman activities, 
kept up without intermission for so many years. 

In the course of that winter, Davison spent some time 
in California, seeking relief in the balmy airs of Peb- 
ble Beach and elsewhere. Early in 1921, Martin Egan 
joined him in California and came East with him. 
Harry was no better; in fact his head troubled him 
badly and incapacitated him for any real activity. He 
went almost immediately to Magnolia Plantation in 
Southern Georgia and there, as has been described, he 
gathered about him his friends, for the quail shooting 
which he himself was unable to share. 

Davison always made friends with his professional 
advisers, and a consultation with the physicians, sur- 
geons and specialists took on the nature of a party; 
Harry being the genial host and becoming so com- 
pletely entertaining that sometimes almost an hour 
would fly by before the specialists and the patient real- 
ized that they had come there for a purpose. 


Dr. Frederick Tilney, who was devoted to Harry 
throughout his entire illness, was sitting with him one 
summer day, looking out over the Sound from the 
Grecian-columned summer house at the foot of the 
lawn. Suddenly Harry pointed out how the calm sur- 
face of the water was all alive and boiling from the 
antics of a school of porpoises. Dr. Tilney leaned for- 
ward with much Interest. 

"All my life/ 5 he said, "I have been wanting to get 
hold of the brain of a porpoise for research purposes, 
but I have had to give up hope.' 5 

Harry stretched out his hand and rang a bell. To 
the attendant who answered he said : 

"Bring me my elephant rifle and tell them to have 
the motor boat ready for us at once. I am going to get 
the brain of one of those porpoises for you, 75 he added 
to Dr. Tilney, "would you like to come along?" 

By this ti'me, the school of big fish was far away In 
the distance, but Davison had noted their course, and 
by the time the motorboat had reached Oyster Bay the 
party had overtaken the school. Harry, himself, 
though by no means in condition to undertake a shoot- 
ing trip, stopped the launch, arose, waited till a big 
fellow heaved out of the water, took careful aim and 

It was at once evident that the fish was done for, 
and when Harry and the Doctor reached its side it was 
floating. It was carefully towed ashore, and the next 
day Dr. Tilney and his associates came with the proper 
instruments and secured the important specimen that 
they and other researchers had long been anxious to 

Yet despite all this brave front, Harry had come to 
the full realization of the tragedy that was confronting 
hi m this drastic limitation of the scope of his activi- 


ties, this snatching away of the fulness of the life which 
he had lived. He could see that, perhaps, the best he 
could hope for was the careful life of a semi-invalid. 
And he was fighting hard to convince himself that this 
suddenly contracted sphere of his life could yet contain 
vital interests, perhaps heretofore unconsidered or even 
undreamed of. Possibly he could take an advisory part 
in the organization of public and private philanthropy 
on a more intelligent, business-like and efficient basis 
than had hitherto been possible. Did not the career in 
politics upon which his elder son had chosen to embark 
hold out possibilities of tangible interest for him? 
Might it not be that even those resources that lay in the 
depths of history and literature resources that his 
crowded life had never permitted him to take advan- 
tage of could be made available to bring him not only 
solace, but a new and important outlook that would 
make even a crippled life worth living? 

His fight was to convince himself that such new in- 
terests might go far to bring compensation for what he 
was losing in strength, energy and freedom. And in 
this struggle, this conflict for readjustment of values, 
for a new approach to life, his wife was taking a very 
full part. Each knew the other's mind, and they were 
making the gallant struggle together. 

Through that spring and early summer of 1921, the 
patient grew steadily worse. He was uncomplaining, 
and maintained his spirits to an extraordinary degree, 
but he was distinctly on the down-grade, and his con- 
dition troubled him sorely and alarmed his family and 

It was in August that Harry's physicians became 
agreed that the seat of the trouble was a brain tumor, 
and that the only possible hope of recovery was the 
removal of it. No sooner was he informed than with- 


out the slightest hesitation he urged that the operation, 
the critical nature of which he fully understood, be 
undertaken at once. He gave himself only a day or 
two to go over his affairs, and then he went to the 
hospital. After a long and arduous operation, the sur- 
geons found that the actual removal of the trouble was 
not then feasible. The operation, nevertheless, gave 
almost immediate relief, but both Davison and his 
family recognized that it was temporary. 

During almost all the weary months from August of 
1921 until late the next spring, Davison stayed at his 
beloved Peacock Point, and gathered even more closely 
about him his family, and a few of his most intimate 
friends. With these latter, he talked freely of his con- 
dition and of what the future might or might not hold 
in store. Even months before his illness had become 
serious, he had said to George Case, and to some of the 
rest of us, that, in any event, he intended to "remodel 
his life and not have it such a whirl of affairs, business 
and social, as in the past"; to have done with "The 
weariness, the fever and the fret," as Keats puts it. 
But with the inconclusive results of his operation, Davi- 
son clearly faced, both for himself and for his beloved 
circle, a more dubious perspective. In the Antigone 
we read : 

Nothing in death is dreadful, save the fear 
Lest Death be robbed of his nobility. 

In Davison's case there could be no such fear as 
that, because he confronted the future without mis- 
giving, "In bitter days the soul finds God, God us." 

George Case speaks of one talk that he had with 
Davison about this time "on religious beliefs and the 
hereafter." "Harry believed," Case goes on to say, 
"that there was a hereafter and that its trend depended 


upon the use to which one had put his faculty and 
character on this earthly stage of life." While, on oc- 
casion, Davison never hesitated to be a radical in the 
hewing out of new pathways of progress, yet in his 
religious beliefs he seemed to accept without great ques- 
tioning, although with modern interpretation, the faith 
of his fathers. 

It is true, I think, that in general Davison was in- 
clined to shun abstractions. During all the days when 
he was immersed in great affairs, he was, as has been 
pointed out, essentially the man of action. He did not 
deprecate or underestimate the value of scientific in- 
quiry into economic ways and means, into causes and 
cures. But the methods of such inquiry were not of 
particular interest to him. Life, for him, was abundant. 
It was as he lived it superabundant It spoke to 
him in many more ways than to most men, yet he was 
never oppressed with the feeling that he must be one 
of those to read the riddle of the universe. 

Martin Egan, in his turn, tells of a brief talk which 
he had with Davison just prior to the first critical oper- 
ation. "He began," Egan explains, "by asking me if I 
were afraid to die. When I told him I was, he said 
that he had taken the liberty of asking that intimate 
question of several of his close friends, and they had all 
said they were afraid to die. He then went on to say 
that if there were any advantage in feeling otherwise, 
he had it: he was not afraid to die. 'Death,' he de- 
clared, 'Is a part of life. It is the provision of Provi- 
dence, and we must all die at an unknown time.' Harry 
had therefore resolved, he said, to be prepared always 
to die and to go 'standing up and without fear,' He 
added: 'And then you know, Martin, it is the great 
adventure.' " 


It might have been said of Harry Davison, as It was 
of Pettigru, the Charleston patriot: 

Undismayed by disaster 

He faced life with antique Courage 

And death with Christian Hope. 

During the months that Intervened between the first 
and last operations, Davison's mind was considerably 
occupied with the idea of trying to bring about closer 
association and understanding between young univer- 
sity men of Great Britain and of America, Through- 
out the War, he had been deeply impressed with the 
belief that the struggle could be won only through the 
close cooperation of the peoples of the United States 
of America and Great Britain. At the close of the 
War, Davison had similar conviction that stable 
peace could be attained only through the efforts of these 
two Anglo-Saxon peoples working shoulder to shoul- 
der. He felt that every opportunity should be taken, to 
enable British youth to gain a knowledge of America, 
to secure an insight into the finer things which they 
might look for in this country and in its people. Not 
many years ago, Elihu Root, great American statesman, 
was asked what measures could be taken to bring the 
British and American peoples closer together. "That 
rests with the young men," Mr. Root replied, "youth 
to youth, young heart to young heart." 

Davison felt, then, that effort along these lines should 
be undertaken, as in fact it was, by his widow and 
children after his death. Thoughts like these were 
strongly in his mind and on his lips, even up to his last 
conscious moments on this earth. 

Through that last winter and spring, Davison con- 
tinued to cling closely to his family and to see much 
of the wife and children who adored him. He realized 


that to attempt to discuss with his partners much in 
the way of business matters, even though he continued 
to show his interest in them, was of little use. But he 
still took delight in his children and in his one grand- 
child, his elder son Trubee's boy. Youth had never 
bored him. On the contrary, he had been his children's 
boon companion, and had entered closely into their 
interests and activities, as they had entered into his. 
Even during the last weeks of his illness, he insisted 
that all the young life, in its vigor and joy, should go 
on about him, unabated. Sympathetic with his children 
he always was tender, and keeping till the end the 
heart of youth. 

In the early days of May, 1922, it was decided that 
a final and decisive operation was imperative. Davison 
himself felt this strongly, and on the night before the 
morrow was almost peremptory in his directions to his 
surgeons to complete their work, regardless of the con- 
sequences. He knew perfectly well what he was facing, 
but he was serene and undismayed. Before turning in 
for the night, he played for a time with his little grand- 
child, unconsciously, perhaps, clinging to this new and 
vigorous, young life, as his own was ebbing away. 

What were the memories flitting through that vexed 
brain of his in those last ominous days? Was he living 
over again the Red Cross achievement, those days of 
high acclaim in his own country and in the capitals of 
Europe? Was he harking back to the earlier years of 
the War, the vast financial operations, the great flood 
of American commerce that he had helped put in mo- 
tion? Or did his eye still light up at the thought, 
years before, of that heroic figure of the elder Morgan, 
something almost stupendous in its stature and dignity 
and force? Decade by decade the years were dropping 
away from him. Now he was that eager, young man, 


just arriving In New York In search of his fortune. 
Back, still further back, among the hills of Troy, 
tramping the woods of Northern Pennsylvania ; a young 
lad at school, full of mischief and gaiety; . . , finally, 
dim memories of the gentle woman who had been the 
mother of a little boy left lonely by her going. 

That last night of his on earth, he slept an untroubled 
sleep, serene In the consciousness that "to a good man 
no evil can befall, either in life or In death." Death 
came about noon } on May 6, 1922. 

On the plain stone slab that covers Harry Davlson's 
grave at Locust Valley, are set simply the dates of his 
birth and death, and then this line from his favorite 
hymn, so expressive of his energy, his unselfishness and 
his work for others : "Onward, Christian Soldiers." 

"Whom the gods love die young." Surely we should 
never interpret those words to mean that the gods 
snatch away from us those who are young In years. 
No ; for us that phrase means that those whom the gods 
love can never become old; that whenever they are 
called to the other world they are still young. So In 
this way the gods loved Harry Davison, just as he loved 
his fellow-man. For us and in our memories he will 
always remain young, vigorous, buoyant, hopeful, 
brave. "Though I speak with the tongues of men and 
of angels, and have not love, I am become as sounding 
brass or a tinkling cymbal." For all his fine mind, his 
upright character, his deeds of nobility and strength, 
love of man was the passion that ruled the heart and life 
of Harry Davison. 




This personal record, written from day to day by Henry P. 
Davison, was later put by Its author in the form in which it now 
appears, his intention being that it should be privately printed. 



This off-hand diary was written partly for my own amusement 
and partly to give my boys some account of my experiences on a 
Mg-game hunting trip. Being frankly personal, it quite naturally 
gives the reader little idea of the many similar experiences of my 
associates, both "Dan" and "Jack." 

A few friends, who seem to have been interested in reading it, 
have urged me to have it printed, even as rather hastily written, 
claiming that it gives a vivid picture of the trip and of the country. 

My apologies. H - p - D - 

Left New York Saturday, January 10, 19 14, Steamer "Adriatic." 
Kate, Frances and Dan Pomeroy, Jack Prentice and myself in 
party, with Edward, Tessie and Harrison as servants. 

Arrived at Cairo, January 29, after stopping at Madeira, Algiers, 
Gibraltar, Monaco, Genoa, and Naples. Delightful voyage. 

Spent four or five days sight-seeing in and about Cairo. I 
lunched with His Excellency, Lord Kitchener, who very kindly 
interested himself in our proposed hunting trip. February 5 we 
took the train for Assiut, where we went aboard our dahabeah 
"Hyksos." Had a wonderful trip to Wadi Haifa and arrived 
February 19. Our train for Khartum left Haifa at a P.M. where 
the girls bade us farewell, they then steaming North for Cairo. 

We arrived in Khartum Friday the twentieth, at 4 P.M. Were 
met at the station by the carriage of His Excellency the Governor 
General, and taken to the hotel, which proved to be very com- 



February 21. Spent the day looking about Khartum and shop- 
ping for the trip. Were delighted with Khartum, finding it a 
clean^ prosperous town, with a well-defined British stamp upon it. 
Dined at the palace with the Sirdar and Lady Wingate. Had a 
delightful, memorable evening. 

February 22. Visited Omdurman, which we found intensely 
interesting. It is seemingly the Mecca for all the tribes of the 
deserts, and a great trading-post. Attended church at six, after 
which dined with Major and Mrs. Ravenscroft (nee McLean of 
New York). At 10:30 went aboard the " Atbara," which was an- 
chored just in front of the hotel, orders being to steam for the 
great South at daybreak. 

February 23. Maximum shade temperature 94, as recorded 
by thermometer on the boat. The hour of eight found us 
well on our way. The day was enjoyable, and there were any 
quantity of duck, geese, crane and other water-fowl. Wind blew 
a gale in the evening, so we anchored at 10 P.M. 

February 24. Temp. 94. We were disgusted upon awakening 
to find ourselves high and quite dry upon a sandbank. After 
vainly endeavoring to get off, a messenger was sent to the nearest 
village for natives to come and give us a shove. They came and 
they shoved but to no purpose. It was not until 6 P.M., when the 
"Dal" (Arthur James, Charterer) hove in sight and gave us a 
ptdl, that we got off and that not until two wire-cables had been 
broken. Thus twenty-two hours of our second day were spent 
not a good beginning. 

February 25. Temp. 90. Steamed all night and day, stopping 
at wood-station for supply of wood. Tried our Springfields here. 
After some adjustment of sights, found them fairly satisfactory. 
Saw our first hippo, thirty miles north of Kosti. 

February 26. Temp. 102. Left Kosti 8 A.M. having reached 
there at 12:30 and tied up for the night. Had a delightful run, 
stopping about 6 for guinea-fowl. Jack got three; Dan and I none. 
We got between us three ducks. Steamed on about 7. 

February 27. Temp. 106. Arrived at Renk about 1:15 P.M.; 
very hot. In the morning we stopped at a wood-station and while 
wooding Dan and I tried our legs and our rifles. We went back 
about two miles, saw five Isabella (gazelle). I shot at one three 
times, each time making a perfectly clean miss. 

At Renk we took on our three shikaris and thirteen bearers. 
Jack and I walked up to the house of the Inspector, Captain 


Wanhope the hottest walk man ever took on this side! Left 
Renk at 6 P.M.; evening, hot. 

February 28. Temp. 105. Steamed along, getting into game- 
country. Saw several white-eared cob and waterbuck. About 
12 M. we ran into a school of hippos, about thirty-five of them. 
To us they were indeed monsters of the waters. Jack and I con- 
cluded to tackle them, so we had the felucca lowered and got in 
with our big guns and shikaris. The water was rough and the 
boat rocked so it was impossible to make a satisfactory shot. 
However, we stirred them up and I confess they stirred us quite 
as much. In fact, when they formed a semi-circle around us and 
came up snorting in concert, I was not very happy, and it was a 
relief to get back aboard the boat. I did not know then that a 
hippo in charging comes straight at one in the open; otherwise I 
would have been less concerned. I supposed he came from be- 
neath the surface of the water under the boat and therefore could 
not be reckoned with. 

Arrived at Kaka, at 3 P.M., stopping again for wood. We thought 
here to avail ourselves of the opportunity to get some evening 
shooting, so we ordered our donkeys and started out, one taking 
the right, one the center, and one the left. I had been going 
about a half-hour when my shikari fairly dragged me from my 
donkey, whispering excitedly "Gamoose! Garnoose!" (Buffalo, 
Buffalo) and pointing to a clump of bushes right in front of me. 

Well, for really the first shot of the trip, to tackle so suddenly 
what is by some the most feared animal in Africa, was something 
of an order! However, that was what I had come for, and I saw 
no reason for going back. So I cautiously stalked into the thicket, 
momentarily expecting a situation of some kind. After a careful 
survey, we found our quarry had fled. I am not sure but that it 
was something of a relief when I realized that he had gone. We 
then proceeded after antelope, but had moved only a short dis- 
tance when there rose another cry of "Gamoose! Gamoose!" We 
stalked again very quietly, but soon saw him disappear into the 
woods. The result of the day was some experience and no game. 

March i. Temp. 107. Stopped at Melut for provisions; de- 
layed there three hours 4 to 7. Steamed on during the day, 
seeing little game and had no interesting experiences. Jack made 
a good shot at a crocodile and brought him aboard the boat: 8' 8" 
long. Arrived at Kodok at 7. I called on the Governor (Wood- 
ward Bey). 

March 2. Temp. 107. Arrived at Taufikia at 9; called on 


Fairbum Bey. Left at II A.M. Steamed all day, against head 
winds and swift current. Arrived at Tonga wood-station at u 
PMm 24 miles in ia hours. Stocked up to take us on our long 
journey through the Sudd. 

March 3. Temp. 97. The country looked much <c gamier" 
and therefore more interesting. Saw two ostriches near the bank 
and several antelope. Arrived at Lake Senioria at 3 P.M. and 
started out for a hunt at 4. Jack and Rathje (engineer or com- 
mander of our boat) going in one direction and Dan and I in 
another. We ran into game almost immediately after leaving the 
boat, but as we were out especially for buffalo, we agreed to shoot 
at nothing else, unless an opportunity offered for a "Mrs. Gray" 
waterbuck. The temptation was great as there were many fine 
chances at waterbuck, tiang, and white-eared cob. Dan and I 
had not gone very far before our shikari spied a buffalo lying 
under a tree some 200 yards away. We stalked carefully and 
finally got up to within 150 yards, when others suddenly appeared 
from within the clumps of bushes. We crawled up to about 100 
yards from them, having a fair position behind a small tree. The 
buffalo by that time suspected our presence and soon spied us. 
At that they formed shoulder to shoulder, faced us and advanced 
four or five steps, stopped and then started forward again. Upon 
this our shikaris began to shout and wave their arms at which 
the herd retreated. As, by lot, it was Dan's shot, so it was his 
campaign. In view of the threatening attitude of the herd and 
particularly of a cow with calf, which was nearest us, Dan con- 
cluded it wise not to shoot. In this I thought he used excellent 
judgment. He decided, however, to follow them, hoping for an- 
other opportunity; but we could not overtake them. 

On our way in, about 6:15, as were we stopping for a moment a 
cry of "Assed! Assed!" was raised, and there within 60 yards of 
us was one of the Kings of Beasts springing through the long 
grass. We could see him only as he sprang through the air and 
not when on the ground; and as our shikaris had our guns, we 
could get no shot. When I realized that I had really seen a lion 
on his native heath and in fact had nearly stepped on him, I was 
a bit excited. We at once grabbed our guns and formed a line 
with our men to beat the grass in the direction he had gone, but 
without avail. The Governor of the Province, "Old Sol," said it 
was time to close up, so we went in without game. 

March 4. Temp. 98. Arose at 5 A.M., and got away for hunt- 
ing at 5:45, just before daybreak; weather comfortable. Saw lots 


of game, but found it some work to stalk them; got two white- 
eared cob and a waterbuck, returning to boat at 10:30. After 
luncheon rested and went out at 4 P.M. Met several natives (vul- 
tures) and had an interesting afternoon. Returned at 7 with two 
more white-eared cob, making my allotment 4. 
Total bag for the day 

Dan 3 White-Eared Cob 

Jack i White-Eared Cob 

H.P.D. 4 White-Eared Cob 

i Waterbuck 9 trophies first day. 

March 5. Temp. 100. Started out at 5 140 A.M. Fine day for 
hunting. We each took our luncheon expecting to spend the day, 
Dan going east; Jack north; and I west. We hoped we might 
get a chance at the mighty and greatly respected buffalo. I had 
not been gone from the boat more than two minutes before I met 
game, but I told my shikari that I was keen for buffalo, and did 
not want to stop for anything else save a Mrs. Gray and a water- 
buck. As I went on it seemed as if I was walking through a park 
the country being attractive with splendid cover, with animals 
and birds on all sides. Soon I saw a herd of waterbuck and could 
not resist the temptation; so I picked two whose heads I thought 
good and was lucky enough to drop them in their tracks. As I 
had two bearers with me I sent them back with the heads and 
then was off for buffalo only* About 10 o'clock we spied a herd 
quietly resting under some trees. We stalked them but they got 
our scent and loped away. We picked up their tracks and followed 
on for about half an hour when we overtook them again, resting 
quietly. We had a long approach on our knees and stomachs, 
finally reaching an ant-hill behind which we could get a fair view 
of them. My shikari urged me to shoot at once; but I concluded 
to take my time, get my target, and then fire. It seemed a long 
time before I could see any of their heads, and when I could I 
was able to see little else. Finally a good-sized bull took two or 
three steps forward and gave me a fair shot about 120 yards 
away. I confess I was pleased to see him drop as I fired. I then 
had the satisfaction of having killed a buffalo and was really de- 
lighted. The usual length of time was taken in the removing of 
the head and hide and then we were off for the boat, about three 
miles distant. I was quite ready to return, although it was only 

We had gone about a quarter of a mile when we spied another 


herd and off for them we bounded. The stalking was not as diffi- 
cult as with my first, but it was not easy in fact, no good hunting 
is easy. There were about fifteen in the herd; they were also 
quite hidden by trees, and I had great difficulty in getting a good 
look at them, to say nothing of a good shot. After advice from 
my shikari, and with the best view I could get, I selected one and 
fired. They were all away in a jiffy. We had followed but a short 
distance when we overtook them. I thought one of them acted 
strangely, so picked him for a shot. He fell and proved to have 
been the one to receive my first shot. Two in one day was quite 
enough for me. Just as I was again starting for the boat at 1 1 :2O 
I saw Dan's shikari in the distance and hailed him. He said Dan 
was not far away, so I told him to go and ask Dan to come to me, 
which he did in about a half hour. Dan had seen nothing, so I 
told him of this herd, giving him their tracks and returned to the 
boat, a tired but happy hunter, wishing for no more hunting that 
day my bag for the morning being two waterbuck and two 
buffalo. I was greatly disappointed to find Jack at the boat with 
no bag, and greatly delighted to see Dan coming in about 3:00 
P.M. with two beautiful buffalo of the herd I had shot from. 
The day's bag was 

Dan 2 Tiang 

2 Buffalo 
Jack i Tiang 

2 White-Eared Cob 
H. P. D. 2 Waterbuck 

2 Buffalo making 20 trophies in our first two 

March 6. Temp. 98. As Jack had no buffalo we concluded 
to remain at Lake Senioria another day. Dan to rest. Jack to go 
for buffalo, and I to do whatever suggested itself. About 10 I 
decided to go out for hippo. At n I had a shot at one and 
missed him. In a few moments I had a shot at another as he 
raised his massive head to the surface of the water. As my bullet 
made no splash I knew I had hit him. He of course went down 
and there was nothing to do but await developments. True to the 
nature of the beast, he showed his back on the surface of the 
water just three hours later. We went out and towed him to 
shore. Such a beast, a monster. The natives Dinkas hov- 
ered about him like the ravishing dogs they are; and when the 
word was given, in they jumped with their knives and soon made 


the place look like a slaughter-house all fighting over each piece 
of meat and bone, the women standing by to divide the spoils. 
They welcome a shooting-party and gladly point out the game as 
it means meat to them. 
The bag for the day was 

H. P. D. i Hippo 
Jack 3 Buffalo 

as he had just come in with three fine specimens after a long day. 

We are now off for the Bahr-el-Jebel en route to the far, or rather 
farther. South. On the way out we struck two hippos who gave 
us a good jar, as to which we reciprocated full measure in kind, 
judging from their vociferous grunts. 

March 7. Temp. 94. Steamed all night and in the morning 
found ourselves going "through the Sudd," which means growing 
papyrus, and miles of it, on both sides. The river is about jtwo 
hundred yards wide along these parts, and is very charming, wind- 
ing in and out through the papyrus, which is very beautiful to 
look at, but very, very unattractive when one contemplates a 
stalking trip through it. About 9 o'clock a fine herd of the much 
coveted Mrs. Gray waterbuck was seen on the east bank, so we 
immediately tied up for a trip to get them. As we matched for 
choice, and I was the lucky one, it was my first, Dan's second, and 
Jack's third chance. Dan followed me and Jack took the right 
end of the herd. After stalking some distance we got within range 
and I shot, making a bull's-eye, as the buck dropped in his tracks, 
having been shot through the heart. I was of course pleased^ as 
the trophy is the prize of the Sudan, but one specimen being 
allowed each hunter. Dan and Jack were less fortunate, as the 
others were in an instant gone like the wind, affording no oppor- 
tunity for a second shot. 

A bit further on we spied another herd on the same bank. Dan 
went out for them, but was unsuccessful, being unable to get 
within range. About n o'clock we saw our first elephant spying 
a large herd in the far distance on the west bank. They looked 
more like houses than animals they were such enormous beasts. 
The rest of the day was uneventful. 

The bag was 

H. P. D. i Mrs. Gray Waterbuck 

March 8. Temp. 95. Steamed during Saturday night and 
through the forenoon without event. The day was delightful; in 


fact, the further south we got the more comfortable the weather 
The river is now about 100 yards wide lined on either side for fiv 
or six hundred yards with papyrus it seems like an endless sea 
and although in itself beautiful, one gets very tired of it, particu 
larly when steaming so slowly. We made about four and one-hal 
miles an hour against the current which became stronger th 
further south we went. The table continued good the servic 
very good and with the comfortable nights and no mosquitoes o 
flies, the trip is certainly a comfortable one. We have now gon 
three days without meeting a steamer and of course never seein 
anyone. It would indeed be a desolate and helpless place i 
which to have a break-down. 

Soon after luncheon as we were steaming by a small lake opening 
off from the river, we saw two of the largest living creatures we 
had ever seen or dreamed of. There stood on the edge of the 
water facing us two big black elephants, the size and appearance 
of which really staggered us. They were none the wiser by reason 
of our presence. After watching them a while we steamed on. 
Later in the afternoon Jack saw in the papyrus on the bank an 
animal which was unlike anything we had seen. He disappeared, 
but we stopped the boat and studied the bank with our glasses. 
We soon sighted a Mrs. Gray in the distance, and as it was Jack's 
turn he concluded to go after him. In going through the papyrus 
he started up the animal which he had first seen and it gave one 
jump. Jack could not see it; but Dan, who happened to be in a 
good position with his rifle, saw it and made a flying shot. It 
certainly was a wonderful piece of work, as the animal, which 
proved to be a beautiful sitatunga, was found stone-dead, the shot 
having raked it from stern to stem. So far as the records show, 
it is the only sitatunga shot in the Sudan by a member of a shoot- 
ing-party others having been shot by engineers or army officers. 
Jack went on for his Mrs. Gray and brought him back a good 
specimen. We then steamed on. 

The bag for the day 

Dan i Sitatunga 

Jack i Mrs. Gray 

March 9. Temp. 98. Steamed all night and found the country 
quite as before, there having been no change in character since 
we entered the Jebel. The day was uneventful until about n 
o'clock when the lookout called: "Feel! Feel!" ("FiF in Arabic). 
The boat was stopped, and there within 30 yards of us were five 


elephants. They were just inside the papyrus, which stands about 
fifteen feet high, so that one could not see the animals if on foot 
or in a rowboat. But from the top of our steamer we could look 
down into the grass and papyrus. There was one bull and four 
cows. They soon scented us and concluded to move on. We 
could easily have bagged the bull, but it is against general orders 
to shoot from the boat and, ordinarily, unsportsmanlike as well, 
The rest of the day was without incident and quite the stupid day 
of the trip. No bag no gun fired. 

March 10. Temp. 97. Steamed all night; morning bright as 
usual. While at breakfast we heard the lookout cry: "Feel! Feel! 
Feel!" We rushed to the bridge and saw immediately in front 
of us, at a turn in the river, a herd of about fifteen elephants. 
They were feeding on the edge of the papyrus and soon worked 
back about three hundred yards from the bank. The country 
was so bad on account of the papyrus and tall grass that we could 
not get near them; so on we steamed. The rest of the day was 

No guns fired. 

March n. Temp. 90 . Steamed all night, and at daybreak 
stopped at Kilo 453. The Jebel is measured from its confluence 
with the Bahr-el-Ghazal in Lake No, where it becomes the White 
Nile, south to about Bor, being marked by numbered signs every 
five kilometres. At times I wonder whether the signs are put 
there for any purpose other than to prove to one that he has at 
some time been preceded by a white man. At any rate they 
somehow are a bit reassuring. 

Dan and Rathje went off together in one direction, while Jack 
and I joined forces in another. Waterbuck and tiang were plenti- 
ful in sight of the steamer, but as we were after buffalo we paid 
no attention to them. After walking about three miles we saw 
in the far distance under some trees a herd of the big beasts. We 
immediately struck our stalking gait. The wind being unfavor- 
able we had to make a long detour before we could begin to ap- 
proach them; and when we could it was a hard, long crawl. Finally 
we got up to within about 120 yards; we then concealed ourselves 
behind an ant-hill, and through our glasses looked over the herd. 
There were about one hundred in the bunch. They were resting, 
some lying down and some feeding. Several cows had young 
calves, which is (or should be) due notice for caution to the hunter. 
As by lot it was my first shot, I selected what looked to me to be 
the best bull-head in the herd Jack also making his selection, in 


case of opportunity to shoot. I fired. They ail jumped, stam- 
peded in every direction, could not get our scent and so were off. 

It was apparent that one was wounded as they had gone but a 
short distance before one dropped out. He romped about in mad 
fashion for a moment and then stood still, head down, ready to 
charge. I shot at him and missed. I shot again and hit him. 
Through the glasses I saw that he was very sick. We went closer 
to him, but very cautiously, and I shot again, missing him clean. 
Another shot and he went down, and another bullet finished him. 

I confess to great delight when I saw that I had a particularly 
fine trophy, and in view of my apparently poor shooting was 
somewhat relieved to learn that my first bullet had really done 
the work, as he was mortally wounded by it. It had gone through 
the shoulder into his vitals, and just where I had aimed. 

In about five minutes Dan and Rathje came up. It seems that 
they also had spied the herd and were stalking them from another 
angle. They were surprised indeed when they heard my shot and 
found us there before them. The head measured 37 inches across. 
Dan and Jack followed up the herd hoping to get another shot, 
but they were unable to do so. 

We reached the boat about 3 P.M. Dan brought in a reedbuck 
and Jack a waterbuck. We then steamed on. About 4 we noticed 
some excitement a short way back from the river and at once 
became curious to learn what was going on. It first appeared to 
be a herd of antelope of some kind, but they acted strangely, dis- 
appearing, then re-appearing at times two or three in sight, then 
twenty. Our second impression was that they were large dogs, 
but upon closer examination we found them to be a troop of ba- 
boons apparently holding some kind of a council. The last we 
saw of them they seemed to be arguing as to a position on an 

The bag for the day was 

Dan i Reedbuck 

Jack i Waterbuck 

H. P. D. i Buffalo 

March 12. Temp. 95. Steamed all night and arrived at 
Kanisa, the wood-station, about 12 M. The country through which 
we passed looked very gamey, but we saw nothing save tiang and 
waterbuck. We spent two hours in wooding and then proceeded, 
taking with us two Dinkas who said they could put us on buffalo 
a few miles up the river. We stopped at 5 P.M. when Jack and 


Dan went out, 1 having completed my buffalo bag. They returned, 
Jack having seen five buffalo, but too late in the day for him to 
see to shoot. He brought with him a waterbuck. Dan came in 
later with the same tale as to buffalo. He also saw six giraffe and 
one baboon. 

Bag for the day 

Jack i Waterbuck 

March 13. Temp. 101. Having been tied up for the night, 
we got away at daybreak with two lookouts, as we were in an 
elephant country and wished to devote ourselves strictly to that 
quarry. About n in the morning at Kilo 533, west bank, we 
saw a fine-looking herd of buffalo quite near the river, and as it 
was Dan's shot and he was keen to complete his buffalo bag, we 
decided to tie up while he went out for them. The wind being a 
bit unfavorable, it necessitated a detour of some distance. Jack, 
Rathje and I sat on the top deck watching the buffalo and also 
keeping sight of Dan and my shikari, who went with him, as his 
man had complained of being ill. He also took Mohammed, the 
First Suprigi, and a bearer. We were much interested in watching 
the proceeding, as we had a fine view of both the seeker and the 
sought. They seemed to us to make slow progress toward the 
buffalo, so much so that we began to wonder what had happened. 

Finally Rathje said, "I think they must be stalking some other 
buffalo, as there is another herd just on the edge of the forest." 
Through our glasses we could see some black objects under the 
trees near the edge of the woods, but not distinctly enough to 
make them out. Suddenly Rathje exclaimed, "That's a rhino! 
there's another, and another! there are one, two, three, four, five, 
six, seven rhino." 

We (Jack and I) put our glasses on them and were thrilled with 
the sight. We could just see the outline of these big beasts. They 
looked to us very large and very black. We were especially ex- 
cited in seeing them, as we had given up all hope of getting rhino 
in that part of the country, understanding that they were only to 
be found in and about Shambe. Just at that moment I heard a 
noise behind us, and looking around saw two hippos on the bank 
back of us not fifty yards away big beasts they were and appar- 
ently only concerned to understand what we were doing in their 
territory. They did not hold our attention long, as the scene in 
front was quite too exciting. 

As we were exclaiming about it all, Rathje remarked: "If you 


are not content, you might look a bit to the left of those rhino and 
see that lone bull-elephant standing under that tree/ 1 This we 
did. In one glance to see about thirty buffalo, seven rhino, two 
hippos and an elephant, to say nothing of several antelope, con- 
vinced us that we were indeed in a land of game. 

To get back to Dan and his stalking, we concluded that he had 
seen the rhino and was going for them, so we sat still (i.e., still as 
we could under the circumstances) and awaited developments. 
Soon we saw the herd of buffalo break and rush away, two cripples 
halting. We knew then that Dan had not seen the rhino, but had 
taken his time in approaching the buffalo. After Dan's shot the 
herd of buffalo stampeded in the direction of the rhino and started 
them off to the south. Instantly we took in the situation. Jack 
and I, having our boots and guns ready, jumped for the shore for 
the rhino, taking with us Jack's shikari and bearer, my bearer, 
and boy. The wind made it necessary for us to go far to the south 
of them. 

As we went on I believed we had gone quite beyond them 
and thought we should change our course, but said nothing, 
relying upon the shikari. The country was a bit rough but very 
open, save for ant-hills, of which there were very many. We were 
moving along in single file behind first one ant-hill and then 
another, as is the custom in stalking, Jack's shikari in front carry- 
ing his .450, my man next carrying my .465, Jack, myself, Jack's 
bearer with his .30, and last my bearer with my .30 we taking 
that order as by lot it was Jack's first shot. 

Suddenly and without a moment's warning our men turned, 
shoved our big guns at us and yelled "Shoot, shoot, shoot!" 
We saw nothing, and Jack jumped to one side of the ant-hill just 
in front of us and I to the other, just in time to see four huge 
beasts, not forty yards away, bearing down on us at a gallop. 
Jack, who was a little ahead of me, immediately fired. His animal 
dropped. I fired; mine went on, his course slightly changed, but 
behind were two more coming at what seemed a fearful speed. 
We both shot at the third and then dodged behind the hill. We 
saw the one we had both shot go down, but there was still the 

He charged by us at full speed, went about thirty yards, turned, 
and came back. By that time we had reloaded, and, what was 
quite as much to the point, being near an ant-hill, we dodged his 
return. The beast went but fifteen or twenty yards beyond us 
and stopped by the first rhino killed. He surveyed the situation, 


stood stock-still for perhaps a minute, then shook his head, took 
a jump towards us, stopped, went back to the dead animal; and, 
after repeating this manoeuvre three or four times, settled himself 
by his former companion. 

After perhaps twenty minutes in this position, we both held 
our rifles at "ready" and slowly backed away, hoping we could 
avoid a further charge and, therefore, the necessity of shooting 
him. We were each entitled to one rhino and had succeeded in 
getting it. We were able to get back perhaps forty yards to 
another ant-hill without disturbing him and we then had an 
opportunity to congratulate each other, which we did without 
stint. As we were then in a position where we could move and 
look about a bit, one can imagine our surprise and, I confess, our 
satisfaction, at seeing a third beast lying dead just beyond the 
ant-hill which was nearest us when we shot. 

My .465 had done its work on the first one, he having dropped 
dead from the one bullet. Notwithstanding our right to shoot 
but one each, we were pleased to have the trophies, as they were 
shot under charge and, therefore, necessity. After having again 
congratulated each other over the greatest good luck and as we 
thought good sportsmanship in making so good out of what 
seemed at one time to be such a bad situation, we then discussed 
our fourth friend still standing in the open near one of the others. 

It soon occurred to us that as Dan had a license to shoot one, it 
was but fair to give him the opportunity. We therefore sent one 
of our men post-haste to the steamer for him to come out to us 
at once. We then sat down for about one half-hour, when it was 
suggested that we might back around and look at the other two 
rhinos, which we were keen to see, as is any sportsman keen to 
examine his trophy. We looked them over and were exultant 
over the result of the day, and then sat down awaiting Dan. 

In a few moments I went over to one of them again, and the 
thought suddenly struck me as I looked at his upper lip, " Can this 
possibly be a 'white rhino'?" Then I put the question to Jack. 
He jumped up and we looked, and to our great surprise con- 
cluded that both must be. We had shot three instead of two, 
but were thankful we had not been obliged to shoot four instead 
of three. 

After about an hour and a half Dan and Rathje came along with 
guns at ready, but we whistled and called to them not to shoot, 
but to come to us, when we told them the story. It was indeed 
tough on Dan not to be able to take as a trophy the great white 


rhino standing there, but, of course, it was out of the question. 
The problem then was what to do with our friend, who was in 
complete control of the situation, guarding as he was our trophies. 

While this matter was being considered, I sent for the taxider- 
mist. He started to come, but became alarmed at seeing the 
rhino standing in the open and declined to join us, beating a 
hasty retreat for the boat. The skinners and bearers came on, 
however. After their arrival our first business was to part com- 
pany with his surviving majesty, which seemed less easy to do 
as the afternoon wore on. We had shouted, fired in the air, shot 
under and over him, but to no avail. He evidently had made 
up his mind to stay by his old associate. I confess this experience 
had a pathetic side which will not be the one most easily forgotten. 
However, having gone thus far, we had to complete the work. 
After considering many plans of getting him away, Dan made 
the brilliant suggestion of using a shotgun, so we promptly sent to 
the boat and got my Winchester repeater. We then formed a 
line, about thirty of us I in the center with the shotgun, Jack and 
Dan on opposite sides with their big guns and approached to 
within about forty yards. I shot him in the hind quarters. He 
jumped, but again stood motionless. After several repetitions of 
this, we got him started and followed him, shooting each time he 
would slacken his speed until we had him on a run and then he 

Dan showed us a fine pair of buffalo heads as the result of his 
morning's work. 

Bag of the day 

Dan 2 Buffalo 

Jack and H. P. D. 3 White Rhinos 
]H.P.D. i Waterbuck 

March 14. Temp. 101. We left our moorings at daybreak, 
expecting at each turn of the river to see elephant. In this we 
were somewhat disappointed. The grass along the river bank was 
quite green, indicating a recent rainfall; which would account for 
the absence of elephant. Rathje said that the month previous the 
country was much more parched than now. However, during the 
day we passed three herds, all of which were quite near the river, 
but all in a nearly impossible country; so we passed them by, not 
feeling desperate enough as yet to undertake the stalk under such 
unfavorable circumstances. 

About 3 P.M. we met the Post boat bound north. It brought us 


little Information, but some salt and bananas, which were more 
to the point, as our fresh fruit disappeared several days ago. We 
hope to stock up at Bor, which we should reach early tomorrow. 
Our lunches and dinners continue very good and enjoyable, but 
our breakfasts are a little disappointing, save when we can get 
liver and kidneys from some of our bag. It is most curious and 
interesting to see the meat, whether of one or of five animals, dis- 
appear the minute it touches the boat. Everything seems peaceful 
until the meat is brought on, whereupon comes a scramble, fight- 
ing, yelling, and a general brawl until every piece has been allotted 
and then a general subsiding. We tied up for the night at a 
point where we saw and flushed a large herd of elephant, hoping 
for a shot in the morning. 

No guns fired. 

March 15. Temp. 95. Breakfasted at 5:30, finishing in time 
to see the sun rise and survey the country. We soon saw a herd 
of elephants, perhaps fifty, not very far from the river, but in a 
most forbidding country; so after consultation we proceeded. 
About an hour later Dan spied two hippos walking along the 
shore, so he and Jack, waiting their opportunity, both fired, using 
the hard-nose .465. Dan's dropped dead, and Jack's was soon 
finished. We stopped to get the hide and tusks and then proceeded. 
We arrived at Bor about 3 P.M., having passed three herds of ele- 
phants just north of it. In one herd there must have been three or 
four hundred elephants. No one could ever have imagined such 
a spectacle: it can be appreciated only when seen. 

We are learning all the time by our experiences, and one of the 
things we are beginning to appreciate is the intelligence and clever- 
ness of the elephant. It was difficult to understand how one could 
see so many elephants and yet not have an opportunity to get one 
or more of them. The fact is that they may be within two hun- 
dred yards and yet as safe as if distant as many miles. They 
work in and out of the tall grass and papyrus, but always in such 
a manner as to be protected either by bunches of grass or by 
water. They seem never to lose a trick. The country is now so 
dry that the herds are living in the swamps, and as a result our 
elephant-hunting is made much more difficult. 

Upon arrival at Bor we were met by Mr. Brooks of the Tele- 
graph Department. He told us of a herd not far back of Bor, so 
off we trekked, but only to return after a stiff four-hours' walk, 
wiser, hungrier and tireder. 

No bag. 


March 16, Temp. 98. We started to steam away from Bor at 
sunrise, but found our bow almost submerged and our wheel quite 
out of water. It took but a minute to ascertain that we had 
sprung a leak and that our hull was filled with water. Plenty of 
men, and as many buckets, together with the pumps, enabled us 
to proceed until we should conclude to tie up for some shooting, 
when the leak could be mended. About i o'clock a herd of 
elephants was spotted about fifteen miles south of Bor. They 
were in two groups. As it was Dan's choice, and therefore his 
expedition, he decided to take Rathje and go for the ones in the 
west, suggesting that Jack and I try for the others, about two 
miles away to the south. Jack had his .450 Holland and his 
Springfield, I my .465 Holland and my Springfield. 

We had a long hard tramp, the hardest and most tiresome I had 
taken. We walked through the burned cane, which is exceedingly 
rough and frightfully dusty. The wind was unfavorable, so we 
had to make quite a detour. Finally we came upon the herd, or 
at least within three hundred yards, and proceeded to look them 

As this was our first real elephant hunt, we were both very keen, 
and I think somewhat excited. As one approaches one of these 
what Roosevelt calls "an earth-shaking beast" his feelings are 
quite indescribable. The creatures are so perfectly tremendous, 
powerful and awe-inspiring that you feel entirely at their mercy, 
the hope being that they do not realize their own power and that 
when you disturb them they will prefer to leave you rather than 
come your way. Our shikaris said they were all females, and fur- 
thermore that one or two of the herd had seen us. When I asked 
Mohammed what the shikari said he replied, "They say he see 
we." This I did not believe, as I am sure an elephant can see 
but a very short distance. There was evidence, however, that 
they were becoming a little uneasy. After being told they were 
females, we almost concluded to retreat; but it occurred to us 
there might be in the herd others we had not seen, so we moved 
up toward them, stalking either in the long grass or behind ant- 

When we were within about one hundred yards, our shikaris 
became greatly excited and told us there were two good bulls in 
the bunch. As Jack had the choice over me, he led rapidly, I 
right behind him. As we passed the next ant-hill there the two 
bulls stood, about sixty-five yards away. Jack fired immediately, 
his first and then his second barrel. 


I called and asked him if I could shoot, as I had a wonderful 
broadside at the other monster, but he said "No." It was a great 
disappointment to me, but he had the right to decide and I re- 
spected his decision, as his elephant was not down, but stood there 
stock-still, the rest of the herd having rushed in the opposite 
direction from us the Lord be praised! Jack gave him two more, 
then he turned and faced us. Jack exclaimed "He's coming." 
I asked if I should fire, and he said, "No; I want you to stay 'at 
ready."* I said, "Give him one between the eyes!" He did. 
Nothing doing. Then another, and down he went! 

It was a great moment, that. To see such a monster fall was an 
experience I shall never forget. 

We took an account of him and found him to be a fine specimen, 
with short heavy tusks, how heavy we did not then know, prob- 
ably about sixty pounds each, a wonderful trophy. 

After our excitement had somewhat subsided, Jack seemed to 
realize my disappointment in not shooting, and could hardly say 
enough to express his regret. Though disappointed at the time 
I fully believe his judgment was good and his decision right, for 
it would have been very unwise for us to have had two wounded 
elephants before us at the same moment. 

At that juncture one of our men mounted an ant-hill to see 
where the herd had gone. He spied another herd not five hundred 
yards away, so off we started for them, I in the lead, a bit keen to 
try my mettle. The approach was very difficult, being through 
the detestable long grass. Soon we arrived where I could get a 
fair view of them, and was delighted to find the one at the right 
to be a bull. It was a long shot, about 120 yards, but the best I 
could get, so I gave him both my right and left. In less than three 
seconds the herd were bunched together so that one could get no 
idea of any particular elephant their trunks raised, their tails 
twisted, and their attitude altogether threatening. 

It seemed to me just thirty days before they decided whether 
to come for us or go in the other direction, and great was my 
relief at their conclusion to take the latter course. 

I knew that I had put two mighty bullets in that gigantic frame 
and well forward, but I also knew that my elephant was gone. 
Great was the cloud of dust in the air as the army moved off, and 
greater the din of the crashing reeds, but soon it stopped, and 
then we heard one awful roaring groan. At this my shikaris danced 
for joy, being sure my elephant had gone down. 

We followed a short way and saw the herd about three hundred 


yards away. This confirmed his belief that the elephant had gone 
down, as otherwise the herd would have moved farther. It seems 
that if one of their number is injured the others will stay about 
him, and if in danger will help him to a place of safety. 

It was getting dusk, and I realized that my time was short for 
the day's sport, but there they stood, all bunched together. To 
move them I fired a shot in the air. But it was not very effective, 
as they moved only a short distance. As the sun had set and 
there is no twilight in this country, I had to be content to wend 
my way boatward, hoping and confidently expecting to find my 
elephant awaiting the skinners in the morning. We found Dan 
had been unable to get near his herd, as they were in a swamp. 
This, our first day's real elephant-hunt, was a thrilling and, I 
think, very successful one. 

Bag for the day 

Jack i Elephant 

March 17. Temp. 99. After a good night's rest and a 5:00 
o'clock breakfast, Jack and I, with our shikaris, went up on the 
bridge to scan the country, hoping we would see our herd in the 
same place; or, if not, that my elephant would mark the spot. 
But alas! we saw nothing, and a great wide expanse of it. *. 

The disappointment was keen, but I did not give up hope that 
I might track him; so off we started and soon picked up the trail 
of the herd, which we followed for some time, seeing no hopeful 
signs. We then took an observation from the top of an ant-hill, 
and in the far distance saw a lone elephant. This gave us much 
hope, as our men knew a lone elephant meant either a wounded 
elephant or a "rogue," so we abandoned the track of the herd 
and made off for him. 

The going was a bit rough, but we made good progress, and 
after another observation from an ant-hill we found that we were 
not over five hundred yards from an enormous bull, much larger 
than the one I had shot. When I got a good look at him I made 
up my mind he must be mine if I had to follow him for a week. 
In about ten minutes we were within shooting-distance (/.<?., for 
a long elephant shot, about 120 yards), but to my dismay I found 
him moving not rapidly for him, but much too fast to suit me. 
We made a dash under cover of grass and brought up about 100 
yards from him, he being broadside on. He was partially screened 
by a fringe of grass, yet I could see him plainly. I opened on him 
with my right of the .465, and then gave him the left. At this 


he turned. I told Jack to shoot while I was reloading, and then 
I gave him two more. 

At this he turned head on and started. It is perfectly ludicrous 
to try to describe the oncoming of a wounded elephant. A loco- 
motive would look like a toy alongside. We both realized the full 
significance of the situation and what depended upon each of us. 
By that time both our guns were again loaded. Mine was up at 
once, and I cried, "111 give him two between the eyes." I fired 
one, but on he came like a racehorse, bearing down upon us, as 
he was on an incline, and we in the open in a slight hollow. I gave 
him my left, which stunned and checked him. I cried, "Give him 
two, Jack!" Jack did, both full in the face, the results of which 
turned him. He gave about five jumps to the right, and then 

We ran to get him broadside, and found ourselves in a better 
position. From his actions I knew then that I had him. In 
order, however, to make assurance doubly sure, I gave him six 
solid Springfield .30*5, then two more .465*8, and down he went 
in his earth-shaking fall. 

The realization of having killed an elephant and such an elephant 
was quite more than I can describe. Perhaps the camera will 
afford some idea of the beast. I hope so. I did not then know the 
size of his tusks, by which the trophy is measured, but they seemed 
large to me. 

In the afternoon Dan and Jack went over to the other bank of 
the river for antelope, but I concluded to spend my afternoon 
getting a bit rested after the excitement of the morning. 

Bag for the day 

Jack I Waterbuck 

Dan i Waterbuck 

H. P. D. i Elephant 

March 18. Temp. 98. As the men were unable to get my 
trophy in before dusk, we remained, giving them the early morn- 
ing. We then got away, steaming up the west channel about an 
hour, when we saw two herds of elephants quite near the river, 
but in very bad country. 

As it was Dan's first choice and Jack's second, they went out 
together. They had a hard approach, but finally got in range. 
Meantime the other herd had moved closer to them, so they found 
themselves quite surrounded by elephants. The situation from 
the steamer did not look a bit nice, as in case of a stampede it 


would have been very trying to say the least. It was not long 
before we heard two shots and then two more; and soon after that 
Dan came in with the tail of his quarry. 

We gave him a warm welcome, as his victory made us feel that 
our trip was then a success. We each had our elephant, which 
meant much to any one who had never before hunted them. The 
hunting of elephants is certainly the king of sports, most exciting 
and nerve-requiring. 

After Dan had shot, Jack saw what appeared to be an enormous 
bull in the herd, so he concluded to devote himself to him. He 
hunted him about two hours in the afternoon, got one shot at 
him, but it was a chance, and also an ineffective, shot. We then 
decided to spend the night and see if the same herd would be in 
sight in the morning. 

Bag for the day 

Dan i Elephant 

March 19. Temp. 101. We were all up at sunrise and greatly 
pleased to find the herd near the river bank not very far, perhaps 
a half-mile, from the steamer. So Jack and I started for them. 

While as a matter of right it was my first shot, we all wanted 
Jack to have a chance at the big bull, so we proceeded with that 
understanding. We found little difficulty in getting up to within 
about 80 yards. The herd were well lined up, feeding side by 
side, facing away from us at an angle of perhaps 45 degrees. 

We had no more than reached the point where we could see 
them than they began to move. We had to act quickly. Neither 
Jack nor I could see the big tusker we each had well marked, so, 
it being my turn, I shot. The right and left of my .465 dropped 
my animal, and with his fall my elephant bag was full, I having 
killed two, the number allowed under my license. 

He was of only fair size when compared with my other. How- 
ever, I am more than delighted and really greatly relieved to close 
the chapter of elephant-hunting, exciting, alluring and attractive 
as it is. 

We returned to the steamer, where we had been but a short 
time when we saw the same herd on the edge of a swamp all 
bunched together stern to stern, thus enabling them to get the 
wind from every quarter. Jack could not resist the temptation to 
try again before luncheon, so he made the attempt, but could not 
get near them on account of the tall grass and swamps. It seems 
very strange that a herd of twenty to thirty elephants can be 


within 1000 yards of one, apparently in the open, and yet be 
absolutely out of reach or range of approach. We rested a while 
after luncheon, hoping they would change their position. 

There is an old sheik living near this point on the bank who is 
quite^a famous character, a sort of Daniel Drew, one upon whom 
a knife or an axe might easily be sharpened. He came aboard 
and with him came his soothsayer. After making known to him 
Jack's fruitless endeavors to get near the herd in their present 
position, he said he could arrange the matter without trouble. So 
the soothsayer was told to communicate with the elephants. 

He took a piece of dry meat in one hand and a bone in the other, 
moving them about his head and shoulders, at the same time 
alternately rising and sitting and crying aloud in strange tones, 
high and low, frequently emitting a wail. After seeing him go 
through this ceremony for several minutes we asked the sheik 
through our interpreter what it meant. He said the soothsayer 
had told the elephants to come out of the swamp on to the dry land. 
The sheik then told Jack to follow him, as he knew a way through 
the first part of the swamp. 

Jack obeyed orders, while Dan and I, with our glasses, sat on 
the top deck curiously awaiting developments. We saw Jack and 
his party, led by the sheik, wind their way in and out and finally 

Then they waited perhaps ten minutes, when to our astonish- 
ment the herd began to move, and not only in their direction, but 
the big bull, which was then sixth in line, worked his way to the 
front and led them out. On they worked until within about fifty 
yards from the party, when we heard two shots, and then another, 
and saw the giant fall, and a great fall it was. 

I am only stating facts and not dealing with conclusions. Suffice 
it to say, the performance was a wonderful exhibition with great 
results and handled by Jack in a masterful, sportsmanlike manner. 

As Dan's elephant trophy was especially good and we were all 
a bit keen to get into the roan country, he concluded that he 
would prefer to move on and decide later as to whether or not 
he would go for a second elephant. In this I thought he used 
excellent judgment, and further confirmed his reputation as a true 
sportsman. We ordered the men to get a good start the next 
morning in order that both Jack's elephant and mine could be 
de-tusked early and we proceed down the west channel for roan. 

Bag for the day 


Jack i Elephant 

BL P. D. i Elephant 

March 20. Temp. 94. The men left for the trophies at 5 A.M. 
and were back at n 130, when we turned the bow of the "Atbara" 
north for the first time since February 23. She was not to be 
headed in that direction long, however, as we soon reached the 
east channel and started up it, steaming until 3 P.M., when we 
tied up to the bank and arranged for our afternoon shoot* Curi- 
ously, the character of the country on the east bank is as different 
from that of the west as if they were a thousand miles apart; the 
west being swampy and desolate to look at, while that of the east 
is dry and hard, with an almost continuous forest of thorn, palm 
and scrub trees. 

For the first time since leaving Lake Senioria we could use our 
donkeys, but we concluded not to take them in the afternoon. 
So we each started out for a leisurely hunt, hoping to get roan. 
We found the country alive with gazelles, mostly Rothschilds, 
bushbuck, reedbuck and waterbuck, the roan frequenting the 
country five or more miles back from the river. We saw lots of 
tracks of all kinds elephant, lion, giraffe and zebra. I was much 
amused to watch a troop of baboons, I should think thirty in the 
group. They surprised me by their size. I at first thought they 
were antelope. On getting nearer I had a splendid opportunity 
to watch them. My shikari asked me if I would shoot one. I 
told him that I would if I could get a very good specimen; so later 
he presented the opportunity, when I raised my gun then low- 
ered it. Whatever else I could do, I could not shoot one of those 
curious beasts. I am glad I could not. 

The bag for the day 

Jack 3 Rothschild Gazelles 

i Reedbuck 

Dan * 3 Waterbuck 
H. P. D. i Reedbuck 

i Rothschild Gazelle 

March ai. Temp. 104. We breakfasted at 5 and got away 
at 5:30,^ heading for the roan country. The experience going back 
was delightful, as the weather was cool and the country interest- 
ing. One could never tell what would pop out from any bunch 
of palms or from under any trees. 

It seemed like riding through an enormous preserve teeming 


with game. We did not want to shoot-up the country, being 
especially out for roan. About 7 o'clock I saw my first herd. I 
should think there were twenty in it; but they saw me long before 
I did them, and away they dashed. I stalked them for an hour 
and became not only exhausted, but discouraged, as it seemed as 
if I could never get within shooting distance. Finally, however, 
my opportunity came, and I made the best of it, getting a fine 
29-inch head. I think the roan the most attractive head in our 
bag. The animal itself is very handsome, weighing about 700 Ibs. 

I was pleased, and resolved to be satisfied if necessary; but 
started out for another. Not only does the keen sight and hearing 
serve the roan, but the running of all the other antelope stirs 
them up and makes stalking them much more difficult. At u 
o'clock I had my second, and was then quite ready to turn to the 
"Wabour" (the boat). It was just three hours later when I 
arrived, stopping en route to shoot a bushbuck and a dikdik. 
Jack joined me just before reaching the boat. He was quite as 
hot and tired as I, notwithstanding the fact that in his bag was 
a reedbuck which as a trophy broke all records and is pronounced 
by Rowland Ward, Ltd., to be the finest reedbuck they have 
hitherto measured, being a head of i6$4 inches, with a spread 
of 22^ inches. 

To our surprise Dan was not at the boat, but his donkey had 
come in with our roan. He did not show up until after dark and 
until after he had given us much concern. The facts were, his 
shikari had lost his way, and poor Dan had been since n trying 
to find the boat. He was entirely done up. 

The bag for the day 


3 Roan 

i Reedbuck 


i Roan 

H. R D. 

2 Roan 

i Dikdik 

i Bushbuck 

March 22. Temp. 100. In view of the fact that we were un- 
able to turn our faces northward on Saturday evening, I concluded 
to get in an early morning shoot, so arose at 3:30 and left for the 
roan country at 4:30. The ride back was an experience I shall 
always remember. The air was delightful, the heavens brilliant, 
and the country interesting. The trees were filled with birds and 
the country with game. I saw the night dissolve into day as one 
can see it only in a tropical land. 



It was some time after daylight that I ran across a herd of roan, 
and as they were travelling with a herd of zebra, which seem quite 
as keen of scent and hearing, it was difficult to get within shooting 
range. But I finally succeeded, and dropped a fine head with my 
Springfield soft-nose. I had my riding-donkey and two bearer- 

In view of previous experiences in delays I concluded to wait 
with the skinners and have the head packed and go on with me. 
As I was anxious not to delay the boat too long, I headed for the 
river. Soon I ran into or, rather, saw another herd, and from 
it took my roan to complete my bag. 

Jack had three, Dan one and I four. I was surprised to learn 
that one of Jack's men had declined to bring in one of his heads 
the night before and had been unable to find it in the morning; 
so he and several other men had been sent out again with orders 
to bring the head in. We therefore had nothing to do but wait 
their return, which we did with much impatience. They did not 
return until dark, which prevented our getting away until morn- 
ing. Jack and I killed two white pelican, one marabou, and some 

Bag for the day 

H. P. D. 

1 Roan 

2 Roan 

March 23. Temp. 97. We were mighty glad to face north 
for our return-trip, which we did at 5:30 A.M., arriving at Bor at 
9:15. The Inspector, Captain Tunnard, called to pay his respects. 
We had our ivory weighed, it being customary to have the ivory 
weighed in the province where shot. The scales showed: 



H. P. D. 







65.20 Ibs. 






" } 
} 52.50 









Average 59.6 Ibs. 



f 7 








































We were complimented upon our tusks, being the best shown 
by any shooting-party. We left Bor at 11:30 A.M. and steamed 
the rest of the day without incident. We made about 9 miles an 
hour. Tied up at 7 P.M. 

March 24. Temp. 94. Got away about 6, arriving at Kanisa 
at 10:30. After talcing on a full supply of wood we left Kanisa 
at i P.M. Met the post-boat at 2 and very glad were we to hail 
her as she had stores for us, the need of which we were beginning 
to feeL We had run entirely out of water, and for several days 
past had been drinking the river water after it was filtered and 
thoroughly boiled. To it we added oatmeal, so it really was very 
good. We missed fruit, so we were glad to get two boxes of 
oranges. Nearly all our cigars had been smoked, hence our relief 
in getting 200 cheroots and 200 cigars (?). When we left Khartum 
we had on board thirty bottles of water for each day out and 
though it seemed an over-supply we thought we might as well 
take it, since it would make good ballast and we had the room, 
absurd as it seemed to take so much. You cannot realize what a 
real thirst is until you hunt in this country. It matters little how 
much one drinks, the thirst continues. Frequently I have drunk 
two quarts of Poland or Evian as if it were but a glassful. The 
atmosphere seems to burn one up, and nothing but water will put 
the fire out. From the post-boat we took on 4 cases of Nochera, 
2 of Evian, 2 of soda, and 2 of ginger-ale. We have on board i 
case of Scotch and i of champagne, but as yet the seals are un- 

We tied up at Kilo 455 for the night. No guns fired. 

March 25. Temp. 97. We pushed off at 5:30. At 7:30 a 
Mrs. Gray was announced, but Dan did not think him up to 
standard, so we passed on* While at breakfast two more were 
sighted, so we tied up and Dan went out to bag the species, which 
had defied him, and which, to use his expression, "had his goat." 
It was a short haul and in thirty minutes he came back with his 
scalp, happy and satisfied. We were then ready for an uninter- 
rupted trip and proceeded, steaming the rest of the day without 
incident. Tied up at Kilo 325. 

Bag for the day 

Dan i Mrs. Gray 

The above is my first and only poem. 

March 26. Temp. 86. Away at 5:30 in the early forenoon, 
saw several interesting groups of elephants and several herds of 


Mrs. Gray. The day was really quite cool. It rained for three 
or four hours our first real rain. Just before dusk we saw five 
elephants swimming in a pond very close to us. They were led 
by a large bull and the rear was brought up by a baby. They 
were just about to come ashore when they scented us and the 
change of position was most interesting and amusing. They turned 
back into the water, putting, or, rather, pushing the baby in front 
and were off in a jiffy; two of them shoved the baby along in fine 
style until they thought themselves quite out of harm's way. As 
the river is less circuitous from Kilo 200 north we concluded to 
steam through the night. Passed Kilo 175 at 7 P.M. 

No guns fired. 

March 27. Temp. 94. Steamed all night and were gratified 
to find ourselves at Kilo 35 in the morning at 6. We turned the 
corner bidding a fond farewell to the Jebel at 2 P.M., entering the 
White Nile, bound for Tonga. Arrived there at 6:30 and tied 
up for wood and the night. Sent Edward to Tonga to see if there 
were any telegrams. Found one from Fitzgerald recommending 
Gerrard as the best taxidermist in London. 

No guns fired. 

March 28. Temp. 94. Left Tonga at 5, entered the Zeraf 
[the Bahr-el-Zeraf, the right branch or channel of the Jebel which 
splits off some 280 miles above and rejoins the river at this point] 
at 5:50, breakfasted at 6 and proceeded to view the river. Of all 
the places we have seen none compares with the Zeraf in the way 
of interest. The river is very narrow, about 40 yards, and the 
country on either side most attractive and gamey in appearance 
and in fact as well. It is simply packed with game. About 7 
Jack went out and got a beautiful waterbuck, thus finishing the 
chapter for him. At 8 Dan went out to bring back a tiang and 
about 10 I went out for tiang, bringing back two. We lunched 
at 10:40 and started up the river, but had only gone a few yards 
when the lookout sighted a large herd of roan just ahead of us 
on the river. Dan and Jack went out and gave them quite a chase. 
Jack came back shortly, while Dan went on, returning about 1 130 
with a beautiful head. At 2 we started on up the river from Kilo 
15. About 5 we saw another herd of roan which Jack decided to 
stalk. Soon after he went out I took a stroll, returning with a 
female oribi for the pot. Jack was unable to get a shot at the 
roan, but brought in a fine white-eared cob. We tied up for the 
night at Kilo 17. 


Bag for the day 

Jack i Waterbuck 

i White-Eared Cob 
Dan i Tiang 

i Roan 
H. P. D, 2 Tiang 

i Oribi 

March 29. Temp. 100. We got away about 5:30; breakfasted 
at 6. We passed three or four herds of tiang, waterbuck and cob 
between 7 and 9, after which we saw very little game until we 
had passed Kilo 70. We were disappointed in the day's run, as 
we had hoped to see much more game, especially giraffe, of which 
we saw none. At Kilo 63 we stopped at the telegraph camp and 
were told there were several lions in the vicinity whose custom it 
is to come to the river just at dusk and also just before dawn. We 
considered spending the night, hoping for a shot, but concluded 
it best to go on up to Kilo 100, the limit, and then determine what 
to do on our return. Most of the lion killed in this country are 
first seen from the boat, so that lion shooting as practised here is 
altogether luck. They seem never to hunt lion. To our minds 
this robs the game of its attractiveness. We find ourselves in- 
experienced as to the country and the lion-hunting, having little 
or no knowledge of the habits of the beasts, and yet we are our 
own guides, there being no one here to show or teach us. How- 
ever, we are planning for a day's real hunt at Kilo 15, about five 
miles back of which are three hills but more of this later. Just 
before dusk Jack shot a tiang. We steamed on to Kilo 98 and 
tied up for the night. 

Bag for the day 

Jack i Tiang 

March 30. Temp. 100. We "started down the river at 6 with 
all lookouts set. We saw cob, tiang and waterbuck, but did not 
stop for them. At Kilo 63, the telegraph camp, we were told 
they had heard lion the evening before, but we concluded to go 
on so as to arrive opposite the hills at Kilo 18 before evening. 
We all went ashore at Kilo 20 for a stroll through the forest, 
sending the boat on down. Dan brought in a cob and I an oribi, 
the latter for the pot. 

We spent the night at Kilo 18. 


Bag for the day 

Dan i White-Eared Cob 

'H. P. D. i Oribi 

March 31. Temp. 104. After choosing our respective hills of 
the three, we started off at 5:30 A.M. It proved to be rather a 
trying trek, as the country was flat and without cover, save patches 
of tall brown grass which is difficult to walk through. I arrived at 
my hill at 7:40, and found it a very beautiful mass of granite. 
It was indeed impressive to find such a remarkable rock-formation 
out in that vast territory of otherwise absolutely flat stoneless 
country. I should think a geologist would find much food for 
thought there. The hills seemed to me quite as wonderful as the 
Pyramids and the visit quite like the visit to the Pyramids at 
Gizeh. The hills were nearly as high and were pyramidal in form. 
For some reason we all seemed confident that we would find wild 
beasts among those rocks and were hopeful that they, or at least 
some of them, would be lion. 

It was therefore a bit exciting when approaching them closely. 
I put my glass on them, and then walked very slowly around the 
base of the hill, but found no signs of life or even tracks, which 
quite disappointed me. I then circled the hill, rounding up it 
corkscrew fashion, and when nearly at the top had the pleasure 
and surprise of having four beasts jump out of a cave. Two of 
them turned with just their heads peeping over the rock and then 
they disappeared from sight. I knew they were neither lion nor 
leopard, but knew nothing more. In about ten minutes I saw 
one at the foot of the hill about seventy yards from it on the edge 
of the grass. I took a long-chance-shot and to my utter amaze- 
ment hit the brute. He spun around like a top, finally spinning 
into the long grass. I soon discovered the other three in the grass 
and shot again, killing one on the spot. After carefully watching 
the grass I discovered the wounded one and gave him another, 
which finished him. 

There. was some satisfaction in the operation, but what my 
quarry was I did not then and even at this writing do not know. 
They stood a little higher than a pointer-dog, were shaped much 
like a dog, but had heads more like a hyena's. Jack was confident 
that they were of the hyena family, although they were not high 
in the withers like the hyena. There are wild-dogs in the coun- 
try, but Rathje says that they are not dogs. I hope to learn some 
day what they are. This experience completed my hunting of the 


hill, and at 9:30 I started back for the boat, which I reached at 
1 1 130, a bit tuckered, but aE right. Jack returned at 12:30, having 
seen several fresh leopard-tracks, but no game. Dan came in 
about 2:30, having seen four animals in the long grass, but unable 
to get a view to see what they were. We were all disappointed in 
seeing no lion or leopard and concluded they were not for us. 

About 4:30, Jack, Rathje and I went out for our last afternoon 
shoot. I wanted especially to get a giraffe, while Jack was after 
roan. After about an hour's walk, my shikari saw four giraffes 
in the distance. We stalked them and got close enough "to see 
that there were two large females and two younger ones, J con- 
cluded not to shoot, as I did not like to kill the females, so re- 
turned to the boat. Jack came in with two roan, making the 
bag for the day, in addition to my two beasts: 

Jack 2 Roan 

H. P. D. 2 unknown (? Wild-Dogs) 

(Note. I was told at Khartum that the two beasts were wild- 

April i." Temp. 107. At 6 we turned our boat and really 
headed for New York a bit far it seems and is but not nearly 
so far as when headed south, even when tied to the bank. We 
arrived on the White Nile at 9 A.M., having shot a few guinea- 
fowl on the way. Reached Taufikia at 2:30 P.M. and left at 3:50, 
steaming north with power and current, but against a strong head- 
wind. Had a very hot day. Wind as if from off a furnace, but 
at sundown there was great relief, a beautiful moonlight evening. 
Bed at 9 130. 

April 2. Temp. 100. A fine night's sleep, a good breakfast 
and a realizing sense that we were making progress in the right 
direction, served us well to start the day. We proceeded without 
event until 5:30 P.M., when we stopped at a wood-station. We 
had expected to take on wood at the Kaka Station, but found 
that it had been moved up the river. Although there were only 
forty minutes of sun, we thought it worth while to go out for 
that time and enjoyed the stroll very much. 

Bag for the day 

Dan i Gazelle 

9 Guinea-Fowl 
Jack 6 Guinea-Fowl 

H. P. D. 6 Guinea-Fowl 


We steamed northward at 9 P.M. 

April 3. Temp. 101. We steamed all night, arriving at Renk 
at 7 A.M. This was something of an occasion., as we were to drop 
our shikaris and bearers. The farewells were made after "dis- 
pensing," a very important function. We gave each shikari 
2-10-0 and the gun bearers each i; the other bearers i6s. The 
Government pays each shikari ten piastres (50 cents) a day, and 
the bearers five piastres (25 cents) a day. In some ways we were 
sorry to have them go; in others we were glad. It was a great 
relief to clean the barge of such a rabble. After they had gone 
we had the boat made more shipshape. 

Left Renk at 12 M. Steamed until 9 P.M. and tied up for the 
night on account of the wind. No guns fired. 

April 4. Temp. 100. Arrived at Jebel-Ain at 7 A.M. A na- 
tive known to Mohammed came aboard and assured us he could 
give us a shot at a lion or a leopard if we would stay over, so we 
arranged with him to make three zerebas and tie up a goat at 
each for a lion. Our friend returned for us at 5 o'clock and said 
all was ready and that we were to go to the zerebas by the felucca 
(row-boat), it being about an hour away. We loaded up the boat 
with our arsenal and trappings for the night, and proceeded to 
spend the hour from 5 to 6 going up the river. When 6 o'clock 
came we had not quite arrived; when 7 came it was a bit farther 
on; at 8 it was around the next point; and at 9 we arrived not 
mad, because we had recovered our sense of humour regarding 
ourselves as sold, rather than having been imposed upon. 

As the moon was high, we had an opportunity of examining our 
respective harbors of protection. We found each to be perfectly 
made, from the standpoint of the lion, as it would prevent our 
getting out and gave him ample opportunity of getting in. How- 
ever, as we were in for the game, we each settled down in our own 
zereba, after a goat had been tied to a stake about 15 feet in 
front of the enclosure. The goat proceeded to do his part, bleating 
regularly and persistently, while I, my shikari, and Mohammed 
peered anxiously for the approaching beast. Thus we sat until 
5 :3o A.M., wiser, older, but none the less happy. 

We had thus tried the boma game and had not succeeded. It 
is not a very sportsmanlike game, as we saw it. However, I think 
I am hardly competent to pass upon this. I walked back to the 
boat, about eight miles, and saw fresh tracks of three lions and 
very many leopards. 


April 5. Temp. 94. Arriving at the boat about 9:00, orders 
were given to get away, which we did at 9:45. The day passed 
without incident, except for a strong north wind, which held us 
back considerably. At 5:00 o'clock we turned the corner in sight 
of the Kosti bridge and were greatly disappointed to find it closed. 
We arrived at the bridge at 5-45, blew our whistle, but made no 
impression on the bridge, which seemed to be quite alone. Jack 
and I walked over to the house of the bridge-tender, asking him 
if he would not open it and let us through. He telephoned to 
Kosti for authority, but we were refused on account of the ap- 
proaching train due two days later. 

April 6. Temp. 96. They opened the bridge for us at 5:45. 
We reached Kosti at 6:00. I found my mail and telegrams await- 
ing me at the landing-place. After stocking up a bit, we proceeded, 
reaching our last wood-station at 4:00 P.M. Left there about 5:00, 
and pushed northward. 

We passed El Dueim at 10140, which is some 125 miles from 

April 7. Temp. 94. Had a splendid night for steaming and 
found ourselves 70 miles from Khartum at 7:00 A.M. We are 
well out of the game-country and in the duck-and-geese territory, 
the river being filled with birds of all kinds. This is our day for 
packing, giving backsheesh to the crew, etc. The weather is de- 
lightful, a fine day to finish a wonderful trip. We shall regard it 
as finished when we arrive at Khartum, though a long way from 
home. We tied up at 1 1 :oo P.M., about an hour from Khartum. 

April 8. Temp. 97. Arrived at Khartum at 7:00 A.M. Had 
breakfast aboard the "Atbara," and then arranged to have our 
trophies taken to the Department for inspection, after which they 
were delivered to Gellady, Hankey&Co. for packing and shipping. 
The day was fully occupied with cleaning up our various matters, 
such as payment of bills at Steamers Department, arranging orders 
for taxidermists, etc. I concluded to ship to Edward Gerrard & 
Sons, 61 College Place, Camden Town, London, N. W. my buffalo 
heads and my white rhino. The rest I shipped to New York. 
Dined with His Excellency, the Governor-General. Had a de- 
lightful evening. 

April 9. Temp. 100. Busy all day with cables, etc. Left 
Khartum at 10:00 P.M. for Cairo. 

As to general comments on the trip, I would pronounce it an 
altogether delightful and successful experience. Our bags were 


remarked upon by the authorities as being quite above the aver- 
age in size and character. 

During the entire trip we had no annoyance from pests of any 
kind, no flies and practically no mosquitoes. We did not use our 
mosquito nets for our beds or heads once. The weather, while ex- 
ceedingly hot at times, was not really oppressive. It seemed in- 
credible that one could perspire as freely as we did. Quantities of 
drinking water were made necessary by the heat. There was 
usually a breeze, though at times as hot as if from a furnace. 

The table was always good. Good bread, butter, and when no 
fresh kill aboard, splendid canned-meats. We always enjoyed our 
lunches and dinners. 

* We did not do as much trekking as I would have liked. I am 
sure a trek through the forest of two or three weeks would be a 
great experience and afford a big bag. 

Our equipment consisted of: 

The steamer "Atbara," for which we paid 30 per day; this 
includes expenses of every kind, viz., food (excepting bottled 
water or other drinks), pay of servants, shikaris and all else. 

To the steamer is attached a barge, which carries donkeys, 
shikaris, and bearers; in fact, all natives except the crew. 


J. H. Prentice D. E. Pomeroy 

H. P. Davison 
Servants: Harrison and Edward 

William C. Z. Rathje, Engineer (commander of the boat) 

Address: Dock Yard, Khartum North 

Taxidermist, First Reis (captain), Assistant Reis, Engineer, Second 
Engineer, Sailors 6, Firemen 2, Greaser, Trimmer, Skinner, Head- 
waiter, Assistant Waiters 4, Pantry Boy, Cook, Assistant Cook, 
Assistants to Crew (2 boys), Reis for barge, Sailor for barge, 
Donkey-men 3: making a total of 36 leaving Khartum. At Renk 
we took on: 3 Shikaris, 13 Bearers, making a total of 52 on the trip. 

We had four riding-donkeys and six bearer-donkeys. 

Our arsenal consisted of : one 450 Holland & Holland, two 465 
Holland & Holland, three 30 U. S. Army Springfields, one 265 
Mannlicher, three 12-bore shotguns. 

As for ammunition we each took: 50 soft-nose and 50 solid 


Holland & Holland, 250 soft-nose and 250 solid Springfield 3cs, 
300 12-bore shotgun shells. Of these we each used about: 20 soft- 
nose and 30 solid Holland & Holland* 150 soft-nose and 100 solid 
305, 200 12-bore shotgun shells; or for the party: 150 Hollands, 
750 Springfields, 600 shells. Of course, this includes all the cart- 
ridges used for target-shooting and at crocodiles, etc. 

Names of Shikaris: 

Adam Abee Kalam (my own) A-i 

Udah Handamin (Jack's) A 

T. Gardeen (Dan's) A 

Address: Renk, Sudan 

Mohammed Zanzibar 

Address: c/o Steamers Department, Khartum 
(He was head waiter and a very valuable man to us* Under- 
stands English fairly well, has a good head, good judgment, and 
i exceptionally competent. He went out with one of us on almost 
every excursion. Contributed more to the success of our trip 
than any other one man.) 


Henry Pomeroy Davison received the honorary degree of Doctor 
of Laws from eight American colleges and universities. The insti- 
tutions which conferred the degrees, with all or part of the respec- 
tive citations, with which the degrees were conferred, are given 
below, with the dates: 

University of Pennsylvania, June 18, 

Henry Pomeroy Davison : Constructive genius, whose finan- 
cial policies have encircled the globe Whose constant exer- 
tions, with perfect obliteration of self, have been for the ad- 
vancement of our country's interests among the nations of 
the earth. 

New York University, June I2 y 1918 

Henry Pomeroy Davison, author, financier, philanthropist, 
Chairman of the War Council of the American Red Cross, 
organizer and director of the most wide reaching ministry of 
mercy ever known among men. 

Henry Pomeroy Davison, whose life has been so intimately 
inwrought with large affairs in the life of this community and 
of this Country, who through successful achievement in busi- 
ness have ripened those capacities which were to be required 
imperatively and poignantly required for the relief of 
human suffering when the suffering of mankind was at its 
highest pitch, you who have met this your supreme oppor- 
tunity with performance worthy of the hour and of the need. 

Princeton University, June 75, 1918 

Henry Pomeroy Davison, Chairman of the War Council 
of the American Red Cross. A master of complex situations, 
swift in plan and direct in execution, his thought and action 
sweep in large orbits. Skilful in divining and enlisting the 



best help here and abroad, he Is guiding the vast efforts for 
war-relief to full success. Abandoning his private Interests, 
he is bending all to one end, that the women of America 
may bear the Red Cross of mercy to heal what war has 
stricken, the holy symbol of our hope for a desolated world, 
the sign by which we conquer. 

Yak University, June /p, 1918 

Henry Pomeroy Davison, a banker from his youth up, and 
as partner of the Morgan firm in the seats of the mighty, 
Mr. Davison had won the respect and confidence of financial 
New York. Then came his call to service. Under his leader- 
ship the American Red Cross has covered a stricken world 
with the network of its agencies, has spent by the hundred 
million, has brought to the most terrible of wars, faith, hope 
and charity. 

"And on his brest a bloodie crosse he bore 
The deare remembrance of his dying Lord 
For whose sweete sake that glorious badge he wore." 

Bowdoin College, June 20, 

Henry Pomeroy Davison, of New York and Washington; 
Chairman of the War Council of the American Red Cross; 
philanthropist who gives generously himself, and patriot who 
has taught the American people the joy of giving cheerfully 
so that they have poured out over two hundred and sixty 
millions for the War Fund of the American Red Cross; fitting 
representative at home and abroad of the greatest army of 
mercy the world has ever known 

Harvard University, June 19, 1919 

Henry Pomeroy Davison, able financier, masterly organizer. 
Throughout the War he has accomplished the prodigious task 
of developing and directing the Red Cross. 

Williams College, June 23, 1919 

Henry Pomeroy Davison, in the words of Elihu Root, " the 
man who, abandoning his great business and giving his great 
powers with absolute devotion, to the organization and the 


execution of the Red Cross activities of America during the 
War, has conferred an inestimable benefit both upon all of the 
allies with whom we fought and upon the good name and 
credit of the American people/' To past service thus esteemed 
by such a judge, we must add yet larger service to the future, 
his conception of the plan and its execution, of combining into 
one league the Red Cross societies of the world, uniting the 
sap of many growths in one mighty tree of life, whose leaves 
are for the healing of the nations. 

Columbia University > June 2, 1920 

Five captains of a nation's great effort an effort made in 
the service of the highest ideal that can move and guide the 
hearts and minds of men; captains in things military and 
naval; captains in measures of relief and of succor; captains 
in the work of religious inspiration and instruction. 

(Henry Pomeroy Davison, Herbert Hoover, Rt. Rev. 

Charles Henry Brent, Rear Admiral William Sowden Sims 
and General John Joseph Pershing, five representatives of 
different branches of war service were presented for this degree 
at the same time.) 


Decorations and medals were bestowed on Henry Pomeroy 
Davison by the following Governments and Societies: 

Order of Leopold, I 

Red Cross Medal of the Chinese Red Cross Society 

Commander of the Legion of Honor 


Grand Officer of the Crown of Italy 

Commander of the Order of Saints Maunzio and Lazzaro 

Cross of Merit of the Italian Red Cross Society 


Medal of Merit of the Japanese Red Cross Society 
Medal of Special Membership of the Japanese Red Cross 


Queen's War Medal 

Regina Maria, First Class Medal 

Regina Maria, Second Class Medal 

Grand Cordon of St. Sava of Serbia 


United States 

Distinguished Service Medal 

Gold Medal of the National Institute of Social Sciences 

The citation read by Newton D. Baker, Secretary of War, in 
awarding the Distinguished Service Medal, was as follows: 

Mr. Henry P. Davison, for exceptionally meritorious and 
distinguished service. As Chairman of the War Council, 
American Red Cross, he assumed general direction of the 
war measures of that Society, and by the exercise of rare tact 
and consummate powers of construction and direction, brought 
it to a perfection of organization which made it possible to 
extend relief promptly and bountifully to our Armies and to 
those of the Allied Nations. His dynamic qualities as a 
financier and his forceful personality assured to the soldier in 
the field and to the inhabitants of the devastated countries 
of Europe systematized measures of relief beyond the limits 
of specific statement. 

Mr. Baker then added: 

"As I read that and as the world reads it, it will seem, I hope, 
a generous recognition of the services of Mr. Davison and the 
great society of which he was president, and yet it is a very re- 
strained estimate of a very great and noble service. The society 
which Mr. Davison controlled has left the touch of its relieving 
hand on every battlefield and in every hospital, and in the homes 
of the poor and the oppressed throughout the world. Without 
that society, I do not know whether the world would have been 
able to bear the horrors and devastation of this fearful war. 
Perhaps now that the war is technically over and fighting has 
ceased, society can look with confidence upon the great reservoir 
of good will which was generated by the healing influences and 
built up among men by the presence of this non-partisan, non- 
sectarian, non-national society. It has as the basis of its work 
and activity that broader emotion which makes all mankind kin 
and cuts across all the sectionalism and restricting limitations of 
race and creed, and follows only the precepts of mercy. 

"It is true that the world is at present in sad need of healing 
influences, and sober men everywhere, I think, will look, with most 
hopefulness, for those healing influences in the capacities for co- 
operation which men have developed. The fact is that the best 


of our culture and civilization is that which comes from coopera- 
tive effort, and therefore the spirit which makes that cooperation 
possible is the basis upon which our future building must be made. 
What the Red Cross has done and is doing and is to do will play 
an incalculably important part in that historic reconstruction, for 
it has shown and taught a spirit of cooperation on a basis as broad 
as humanity and as fine as our best emotions. Those of us who 
were more or less intimately associated with him know that Mr. 
Davison is responsible in a very peculiar and personal way for 
the work the Red Cross did. The American Army, for whom the 
Medal was primarily designed, will feel that those of its members 
who wear the Medal are honored by its being worn by Mr. Davi- 
son, whose services with the Red Cross have been so distinguished. 
"In the name of the President and in his behalf I take pleasure 
in presenting the Medal to Mr. Davison." 

i QQ